Students in Montreal Quebec are protesting tuition hikes in post-secondary institutions in the province. The students briefly shut down Jacques Cartier Bridge before riot police dispersed them with some students being pepper sprayed. Police feared a massive traffic jam during rush hour.
The main protest consisted of up to 200,000 students. The large group marched through the downtown area with police keeping their distance. A smaller group blocked the bridge. Montreal police spokesman Daniel Fortier said:"(Protesters) blocked the bridge in both directions so the bridge wasn't open at all, so the riot team just dispersed the people,"
Organizer of the rally plan to protest in Quebec City the provincial capital next week at the national assembly. The provincial government plans to almost double fees over five years from the current in province rate of $2,200 to $3,800.
Students claim the increase will limit access to education which they hold should be a right. In some European countries such as Finland there are no fees for post-secondary education for resident students. However in Canada and no doubt in North America even the increased fees may seem like a bargain.
Protest spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said:"Increasing tuition fees means rejecting thousands of people from the universities of Quebec - persons who have the talent to study but may not be able to pay," "We think education is a right, we think everyone should go to university if they have the talent to do it and increasing tuition fees that fast is totally blocking that right." However, as in most of North America Quebec intends to increase student costs and ensure that students remain indebted after graduation.
Perhaps next government will discover that secondary education is expensive and perhaps the cost should also be placed on those who use the system! For more see this article.