Today marks the 100th day of student protests
against tuition hikes in Quebec.
At 2pm Eastern Standard time another demonstration
(Facebook) took to the streets.
Since the last FPP
education minister Line Beauchamp has resigned
and the provincial Liberal government has brought in special legislation
in an attempt to quell the protests. Amoung other things the new legislation, Bill 78, suspends the semester in affected CEGEPs (junior colleges) and affected faculties of universities
(jpeg, in French but largely understandable if you know Francophone = French speaking CEGEPs Anglophone = English speaking CEGEPs), requires demonstrations of more than 50 people to be registered with the police more than eight hours ahead of time and promises stiff fines to those who break the new law.
Meanwhile, the signature red squares worn by protesters were visible on local musical heros Arcade Fire as they performed
with Mick Jagger on SNL, and again on the lapels of artists at Cannes
. An open letter entitled Un Grand Tonnerre, written by University of Montreal Philosophy instructor Christian Nadeau, is making the rounds in the form of a video
(scroll down for translation). Confrontations
during the daily demonstrations continue (youtube). With the population split
on whether or not tuition should rise and (more so) on the new law, some citizens have begun to show support with a nightly manifestation des casseroles
(pots and pans demonstration).
So why is this going on in Quebec? Many point to the activist history of the people of the province, and in particular the legacy of the Quiet Revolution
, which, in the 1960s, revolutionized life in the Quebec, including the promise of free education for all. In addition there is the long history of fighting for language rights
in Quebec, not the least of which is the still controversial bill 101
With festival season
coming up and no one backing down it looks like this summer will have even more action
on the streets than usual.