-Common Dreams staff-
A red river of Canadians, mostly students, flowed through the streets of Montreal this afternoon marking the 100th day of protest against austerity cuts to education and a draconian attempt by the Quebec government to squelch growing dissent. Early estimates put the number of people in the hundreds of thousands and images show kilometers of red-clad people filling Montreal’s wide boulevards.
An emergency law passed on Friday by the Quebec government — Bill 78 — intended to restrict growing student protests in the eastern Canadian province has done little to dissuade massive numbers who came out today to protest Bill 78, austerity cuts to education and increases in tuition.
“The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended.”
Bill 78, which required protesters to submit their itinerary to authorities in advance, was widely derided by student activists. Though some student groups decided to comply, many others refused.
“The special law won’t kill the student movement,” Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesman for the student group CLASSE, said at a news conference on Monday. “The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended.” The group defied the order by not submitting an official itinerary for today’s protest.
In a symbolic act of resistance, the student group encouraged anyone against the law to post their photo on a new website, the name of which translates as “Someone arrest me,” reports the Global Montreal. CLASSE reported the site was briefly overloaded Monday and had already received more than 2,000 submissions.
The passage of the law seems to have reinvigorated the student movement, as one marcher tweeted: “Tuition fee increases have barely been mentioned today. It is special law that has the attention on students.”