Quebec protesters block classes, exams

160 arrested in Gatineau
Photo by yanik_crepeau on Flickr

In Quebec, where many students have boycotted classes for months, attempts by universities to hold classes and exams are being severely tested.

More than 160 protesters were arrested on Wednesday at the Université du Québec en Outaouais’s Gatineau campus, after an injunction ordered protesters off campus for two weeks starting Monday. The adults among them were charged hundreds of dollars each for blocking the highway to campus, reports the Montreal Gazette.

Also on Wednesday, the province’s biggest school, the Université de Montréal, called off classes in departments whose student associations have held successful strike votes, despite having earlier encouraged willing students to return to classes this week. The capitulation followed incidents where protesters blocked students from entering and leaving buildings and set off fire alarms during exams, reports the Gazette.

Earlier this week, protesters at McGill University and Concordia University managed to temporarily block students from entering exams. Most students at both of Montreal’s English-language schools haven’t joined the boycott, so both schools have proceeded with semesters mostly as planned.

In case you’ve missed it, tens of thousands of students in Quebec are “on strike” to protest a tuition increase of $1,625 over five years. After the increase, Quebec students will still pay some of the lowest fees in Canada, around $3,800 annually. Education Minister Line Beauchamp, who has been the target of death threats and a vandalized office, says she will not negotiate the tuition hikes.

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