Thousands of people flooded the streets of downtown Montreal on Friday June 22 to protest the tuition increase and the actions of the government as the movement heads into its fifth month.
In keeping with the tradition of holding large protests on the 22 of each month (read more about the March and May demos), organizers planned simultaneous demonstrations Friday afternoon in both Quebec City and Montreal. The protest ended around 5:30 p.m. with one arrest made by the Montreal Police. In compliance with Bill 78, an itinerary was provided beforehand.
Protesters gathered at Place du Canada in the blistering heat before marching west on René-Lévesque around 2 p.m. Student leaders stood on top of a trailer, rallying support against the planned tuition increase, the controversial Bill 78, and encouraging those gathered to mobilize against the provincial government by campaigning.
The demonstration was largely festive and peaceful as it moved through the streets of the downtown core despite the message of social discontent. Concordia University student Gabrielle Turcotte told The Concordian that she attended the protest in hopes of inspiring change for the future.
“I would like to see a government that understands that protesters care about others and the future of the province more than themselves,” explained Turcotte.
Turcotte added that although she’s disappointed to see the protests becoming smaller, one could argue it’s out of frustration and exhaustion as the Quebec student movement is hitting the fifth month mark.
The number of people participating in nightly demonstrations has dwindled noticeably following violent clashes between protesters and the Montreal police during the Formula One Grand Prix weekend.
“There has been far too much self-serving in politics, in journalism, in promotion, and in people’s attitudes in our lives,” Turcotte said. “It needs to change.”