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Friday, April 27, 2012

CANADA REVOLT - Students Protest Against Tuition Fee Hike in Montreal

MONTREAL - Quebec Premier Jean Charest is facing increasing pressure, including from his own party, to get personally involved in talks to end a student strike that once again degenerated into mayhem.

Protesters clashed with police in downtown Montreal for the second straight night on Wednesday, leading to 85 arrests in the seemingly endless dispute over tuition hikes.

Three police officers were injured when protesters threw rocks, bottles and other objects at riot police. Baton and shied-wielding officers dispersed the students using stun grenades and pepper spray.

The violence followed a breakdown in talks between Education Minister Line Beauchamp and three student groups, with Beauchamp blaming the radical CLASSE association for the violence.

Tens of thousands of students have missed classes to protest Charest's plan to increase fees by $1,625 over five years.

They have blocked bridges, schools and government buildings almost daily, and some have trashed schools and businesses during violent rallies.

October Crisis veteran Jean Cournoyer, who succeeded murdered cabinet minister Pierre Laporte during the 1970 terrorist showdown, says Charest can no longer leave Beauchamp in the line of fire.

"The environment that Montreal is living through right now is more the responsibility of the premier than the education minister," Cournoyer told QMI Agency. "He is responsible for ... (making) sure that what's happening in the streets stops happening, period."

Most of the violent protests have taken place in Montreal, and Mayor Gerald Tremblay and merchants' associations warn that the nearly-daily disruptions will hurt the summer tourist season.

Continue reading - 85 arrested in Montreal student protest

Video: Violence erupts at 'illegal' student protest in Canada

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