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August 2, 2012
Student demonstration in downtown Montreal, August 1st 2012 (Photo: Olivier Jean, Reuters)
The nightly march, promptly declared illegal by the police, coincided with the start of the much anticipated election campaign called by Québec Premier Jean Charest.
According to witness estimates, some ten thousand people marched in Montreal Wednesday evening, the first day of the election campaign, to protest against the hike in tuition fees and the law limiting public demonstrations.
Starting in the cheerful atmosphere of a casseroles march in downtown Montreal, the march - given that the route had not been announced - was immediately declared illegal by the police.
The police called on the demonstrators to disperse several times , yet they did not comply.
Around 11pm the authorities reported that they had made eight arrests, with at least two for throwing objects at police officers.
According to the participants, it was the one hundredth nightly demonstration since the start of the student conflict last February. Three student unions are refusing the tuition fee hike announced by the government which, according to opinion pools, is approved of by the majority of Quebeckers.
The conflict is expected to be an important factor in the election campaign launched Wednesday for the September 4th election, especially given that the main opposition party, the Parti Québécois (pro-independence), supports the students.
According to local analysts, violent incidents during demonstrations would work to the electoral advantage of the incumbent Premier Jean Charest’s Liberal Party as the majority of Québec society is hoping for a return to order.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please read and distribute these texts in the spirit in which they were intended; that of solidarity and the sharing of information.