“A qui la rue? A nous la rue! A qui la rue? A nous la rue!” The cries from passionate students echoed through the streets of Montreal last Thursday during a “Day of Action” against the Quebec government’s educational policies.
Students were asking for a real freeze on all fees for all students, universally accessible education, a $4.9 billion reinvestment and for an end to corporate influence on campus.
Organized by the Coalition for Accessible and Public Education (CAPE), the demonstrating began at Berri-Square and was supposed to end in front of premier Jean Charest’s Montreal office on McGill College and Sherbrooke.
“[Our] member organizations are all over Quebec, so we have various groups from Universities and Cegeps from Montreal and beyond,” stated Anna Carastathis, a graduate student in philosophy at McGill University.
Carastathis commented on the logistics of organizing the demonstration between French and English speaking universities, “One thing that has been really impressive in organizing this protest is how that linguistic barrier has been broken. We are going to stand together as students, because we have a common interest that transcends linguistic differences and location.”
Notable absentees included the usual list of English student governments, the CSU, McGill’s SSMU and the actual committee which organized CAPE, the Canadian Federation of Students’ of Quebec (CSF-Q).
The member bodies of the CSF-Q decided to pull their support from the demonstration because of a fear of poor attendance and the perceived effect this would have on the student movement as a whole.
Eric Martin, former spokesperson of the Coalition de l’association pour une solidarit