Student protesters in Canada turned out in their thousands to defy a new law which effectively bans demonstrations against tuition fee hikes.
Voted through last Friday, the emergency law sparked violent protests in Montreal over the weekend. Up to 300 were arrested and 20 injured in the clashes.
The police have been criticised for their handling of the protests. CLASSE student union spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois feels the new law has made a tense situation worse.
“That’s the reason the government should accept to cancel this law, before people get injured and before people may die. That would be dramatic and no one wants to get there,” Nadeau-Dubois said.
Quebec’s Prime Minister Jean Charest is standing by the new law which bans the wearing of masks, closes some universities early and imposes large fines on protesters. He also refuses to back down on the 80 percent tuition fee rise. Quebec has the lowest tuition fees in Canada, and polls show two thirds of Quebecers support the rise.
Support still remains for the protests which entered their 100th day on Tuesday, making them the longest in Canada’s history. In a show of solidarity, angry mothers have also taken to the street.