The student protest movement in the French-speaking province of Quebec, Canada, gained some high-profile supporters in the fight against tuition fee increases over the weekend, as anger mounted and demonstrations continued against a new law aimed at curbing the three month-long demonstrations. Montreal police arrested more than 180 people on Sunday night.
Quebec’s provincial government passed an emergency law on Friday restricting protests, including a requirement that police be informed eight hours before and told the route of any demonstration that includes 50 or more people. Demonstrations were held again on Sunday, including a rowdy evening march for the 27th night in a row.
The new law has only served to fuel the student movement and the night-time protest was swiftly declared illegal by police after it started at about 8.30pm and objects were thrown at police, Sergeant Ian Lafreniere said early yesterday.
A first group of protesters was cornered and 110 people were arrested. As the demonstration continued, more arrests were made after demonstrators climbed on police and civilian vehicles and caused damage, he said.
The previous night’s protest also ended with dozens of arrests as police clashed with protesters. Student groups have panned the new law and said they would challenge it in court and continue demonstrations.
A major demonstration is scheduled later today to mark the 100th day of protest. Montreal police said more than 200 rallies have taken place since the student movement began in February, with more than 300 arrests made in the last week alone.
The movement has also gained celebrity support, with Montreal indie rockers Arcade Fire sporting the movement’s iconic red squares during an appearance with Mick Jagger on the TV show Saturday Night Live. Twitter erupted with questions about the meaning of the fashion statement, while student backers praised the move.
Activist and filmmaker Michael Moore also gave his support to the students, featuring links about the issue on his Web site.