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200,000 students strike in Quebec

Peter Hogarth

November 20, 2011

More than 200,000 university and CEGEP students in Quebec boycotted classes on November 9 in protest of tuition fee hikes.

In a massive display of anger at the attacks on learning and living conditions, students stayed home from class and instead demonstrated in front of schools and universities.

Students at Dawson College in Montreal blocked entrances and joined up with a march downtown that saw participation from students from multiple university and college campuses.

The protests have recieved solidarity from community organizations and unions. The Concordia University Part-Time Faculty Association encouraged its 1,200 members to join the students and be tolerant of those who miss classes or assignments.

The strike is in opposition to a decision by Quebec ‘s government to raise tuition by $325 a year for the next five years. That would mean, that by 2017, tution fees would be at $3,793 from the present $2,168.

As reported in the Montreal Gazette, Eric Martin, a researcher for the Institut de recherche etd’informations socioéconomiques and author of Université Inc., said the increase could mean 7,000 fewer students with access to university.

Students have called this a declaration of war by the Charest government.

Charest insists that he is standing firm on the increase, as he has stood by his previous attacks on the public service and other unionized workers.

This strike is a huge step in the fight against austerity and could be a way to link the struggle of Quebec’s workers with its students.

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