QUEBEC CITY (CUP) 8212; Thousands of students protested in downtown Quebec City on Dec. 6, as government officials, including Quebec’s ministers of education and finance, met with student leaders, university administrators and professors.
Student groups have criticized the government for coming into the meeting with the intention of raising tuition in the province, currently the lowest in Canada.
While both of Quebec’s main student lobby groups were invited to participate in the meeting of “education partners,” representatives of the FÃ©dÃ©ration Ã©tudiante universitaire du QuÃ©bec, the largest student group in Quebec, walked out of the meeting early in the afternoon, saying that they saw no reason to stay, since the government seemed to have already made a decision.
The sentiment was echoed by several union groups, who also walked out of the meeting.
The Association pour une solidaritÃ© syndicale Ã©tudiante, Quebec’s second-largest student group, announced they would be boycotting the meeting in October.
Both groups organized large protests, with several hundred attending a protest organized by FEUQ and well over 1,000 attending ASSE’s protest. Both groups bussed in large numbers of students from across the province to attend.
At least one student was arrested early in the day.
At one point a number of protesters gained access to the hotel where the meeting was taking place, before being met by riot police. There did not appear to be any violence or arrests in the incident, however the Montreal Gazette reported that protesters clashed with riot police inside the building. It is unclear whether this was the same incident.
While the mood of the protest remained festive, tensions began to rise as evening approached, with protesters throwing snowballs at the large number of riot police outside the building and police aiming weapons at protesters, though none were fired.