Quebec Students Wage A "Casseroles Protest" Against Speech Restrictions
Students are entering their third day of negotiations with Premier Jean Charest. Quebec students have been protesting for 107 days but Charest only agreed to meet with them on Monday.
Students originally began protesting a $325 tuition hike proposed in 2011. In February, strikes and daily marches began. Since then, demonstrators have staged 260 protests in 120 days and around 2,500 protestors have been arrested. Charest responded by passing emergency measure 78, a bill which restricted any marches or demonstrations over 50 people. Since May 18, students have protested the bill by banging pots and pans together, a tactic inspired by the cacerolazo movement in Chile in the 1970s.
The protestors denounce other austerity measures and cuts to social services proposed to balance Quebec's ailing budget.
Political pressure is mounting on Montreal officials as the summer tourist season draws near. As for the students, they have all summer break to demonstrate.