Quebec students are back in the streets with the Montreal education summit. In a surprising turnabout, Pauline Marois supports raising tuition fees. The Prime Minister's position appears to be a retraction of her former stance, and one which cleared the way for a decisive election win against the increasingly unpopular Charest - and amidst an impressive win for a highly determined and resilient body of student activists.
The following video shows thousands out in the street, along with a smaller police/demonstrator skirmish. Thirteen people were arrested in varying reports of incidents that included throwing snowballs, or also rocks and ice, and one unidentified individual who hurled a molotov cocktail at police headquarters. Arrests were based on charges of attacking with weapons and demonstrating without authorization.
The demonstration was organized by Association pour une Solidarité Syndicale Étudiante, otherwise known as ASSÉ. ASSÉ boycotted the summit because the government refused to put a complete rollback of tuition fees on the table.
Jérémie Bédard-Wien, spokesperson for ASSÉ, estimated 10,000 joined the mostly peaceful Tuesday march, making it the largest since Marois was elected. Mr. Bédard-Wien criticized police conduct, asserting that officers charged students without justification, and spoke out on behalf of bringing down barriers to financial accessibility to higher education.
Students want a guaranteed higher education as a right.