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June 3rd 2012
Several thousands of people stood against the fine rain which fell upon Montreal, reunited at Jeanne-Mance Park, this afternoon to take part in a march organized by the student organization known as the CLASSE.
This gathering is followed by a break in negotiations between the Charest government and the students two days ago. Armed with umbrella’s and casserole cook wear, the students and their supporters show no intentions in abandoning their different pressure tactics.
The organizers of the march estimated a gathering of 5000 to 7000 people around 15h. Based on the CLASSE’s Twitter, this estimate will rise to 25 000 around 16h. The SVPM has yet to present an estimate.
This large manifestation, which was meant to be “friendly”, has been declared illegal from the start by the Montreal Police (SPVM), because its organizers have not provided an itinerary, according to the municipal rule P-6. Like usual, the SPVM has indicated that the march can continue if no criminal acts are committed.
Several members of the Quebec Solidare were present during the manifestation, most notably Amir Khadir, Françoise David and Manon Massé. Around 14h30, after the beginning of the march, the gathering mobilized themselves on the corner du Parc and Mont-Royal where both spokes person for the CLASSE, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois et Jeanne Reynolds held a press conference.
Representative for the Classe, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, affirmed proudly that this manifestation was mainly against the law 78. His colleague Jeanne Reynolds reiterated the inapplicability of the law, adding that she is still waiting her fines for all her illegal manifestations that she has participated in. M. Nadeau-Dubois promised that the pressure on the Charest government would continued at the same intensity throughout the summer.
The leaders affirmed that the regionalization of this battle would be possible, since the students would probably return to their native regions for the summer. The protests will most likely be smaller but they will be numerous, he affirmed.
Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois took advantage of this occasion to make mention that the regroupment of students would not be used to disturb the Grand Prix of Montreal, they would instead use this occasion to make known the cause that the students are defending. “It’s normal that a social crises will become transparent once there are public events” he pleaded. “ Therefore, we will distribute information and red squares, so that the tourists who visit Quebec will be aware that something is going on and that they understand why they are seeing images of manifestation on their televisions every day.”
Moreover, the CLASSE reunited this weekend to establish its summer action plan, after negotiations with the government in trying to resolve the student conflict failed.
Representative Jeanne Reynolds affirmed that the strategy needs to be refined, especially considering that the politics are becoming ever more blurry. “ M Charest has let it known that there will be an election soon, but we want to continue to mobilize” she explained. “Up until now, we think what has really put pressure on the government, is the fact that there are people on the streets. We are always ready to negotiate, but we feel that this this is not an option at the moment due to the government.”
The CLASSE is engaged in joining forces with other student organizations if a new invitation to the negotiating table is launched by the Charest government. “There are different associations with different ways of doing things, and therefore we do not have a joint action plan,” reiterated Jeanne Reynolds.
Ms Reynolds believes that an election will not resolve the conflict. The government, according to her, should make compromises, “ put aside their egos” and find solutions.
From a former Partie Quebecois deputy Daniel Turp, this electoral scenario will allow Quebecois to chose their leaders, who will take to heart the students cause and access to university. “ The students have reasonable propositions and the government should give in to their demands. And for the broader debate, there will be elections.” He added, that this present struggle merits to be followed.
An American tourist joined in on the manifestation with two fellow compatriots. Affirming that the mobilization of students in Quebec was very exciting. “It is time that Americans stood up against tuition as well: back home rights to education is reaching levels of complete madness,” said Maggie a resident of Vermont.
During the CLASSE’s congress tomorrow, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois will demand an extension of his mandate. He intends to retain his functions until the end of the student crises, he will then follow by leaving his position.
Translated from the original French by Translating the printemps érable.
*Translating the printemps érable is a volunteer collective attempting to balance the English media’s extremely poor coverage of the student conflict in Québec by translating media that has been published in French into English. These are amateur translations; we have done our best to translate these pieces fairly and coherently, but the final texts may still leave something to be desired. If you find any important errors in any of these texts, we would be very grateful if you would share them with us at email@example.com. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.