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J. Oliver Conroy and Eric Mauser

Riot police deployed and Montreal student protest gets ugly

Thurs., 10 November, the McGill University campus turned into a battleground between riot police and protestors after an initially peaceful Quebec student protest against tuition hikes transformed into a violent confrontation between activists and authorities.McGill arts students voted to join Quebec-wide protestMcGill’s Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS) had voted Tuesday night to join universities and colleges across Quebec in a day-long academic strike and rally. The AUS organization represents nearly 8,000 students alone, with many thousands more students represented by various other Quebec student unions and societies.The protests were promoted by websites such as tuitiontruth.ca, which argued against the tuition protests recently proposed by the Quebec government. TuitionTruth, sponsored by the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU), encouraged students to join with their peers across Quebec in a march through Montreal that would culminate with a demonstration outside the offices of the provincial premier Jean Charest.(The protest started out in the early afternoon. Here, the McGill delegation marched down rue McGill-College toward the Berri-UQAM area. Photo by J. Oliver Conroy)Academic strike posed dilemma for students and instructorsOut of respect for the AUS’s decision, some McGill professors canceled lectures and conferences. “It’s your right as a student, it’s your right to be out on the streets right now in protest,” said Monica Rodriguez, a teaching assistant in the department of Political Science who abridged her conferences Thursday.Rodriguez said she was encouraged by her course’s professor, Mark Brawley, to give students the opportunity to demonstrate.“The tuition increase is a bit overwhelming for students,” she said. “Both being a student and a member of the McGill community … it’s all about democratic rights and being able to voice your opinion.” Some students found the idea of protesting tuition increases to be a bit extreme.“It's happening everywhere,” said Carolyn Corbett-Thompson in the Faculty of Arts. “It's inevitable that… Read More