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For more useful English-language sources on the conflict, see:
Samuel Auger June 30, 2012
Photo caption: The global strike that has been stirred, seeking to denounce the commodification of education, is notably inspired by the Quebec conflict.
Inspired by Quebec’s protest movement, amongst other things, thousands of students from across the world are planning a worldwide strike week in November to denounce the commodification of education.
The sound of the casseroles might carry farther than Quebec between October 18th and November 21st. The Global Education Strike is planning a day of action in October, whereas the strikes will be taking place during a week in November. Some student associations are proposing day-long strikes, while others could be lasting a whole week.
Protests were held notably in Paris and New York.
Christian Rioux - May 23 2012
Original French Text: http://www.ledevoir.com/societe/education/350679/elan-mondial-de-solidarite
Caption: Students from the City University in New York participated in an afternoon rally in front of the offices of the Quebec Delegation in New York, located at Rockefeller Center.
Sidebar: From the Figaro to Al Jazzera
Foreign media relayed the reports and images of Montreal’s massive demonstration. The headline of Le Point.fr was: “Quebec: Hundredth Day of Student Conflict, a Society Divided”. Paris’ Figaro and Le Monde as well as Brussels’ Le Soir put the accent rather on the “human tide” that swept across the city yesterday.
Le Monde has actually doubled up on its efforts to explain the crisis to its readers over the past few days, notably by publishing texts from the author Jean Barbe and philosopher Jocelyn Maclure.
The Al Jazzera network’s website maintained a front page feature for a part of the afternoon on the Montreal event, just like the CNN network.
The Quebec Spring has inspired an outburst of solidarity elsewhere in the world, where several protests were held yesterday in support of the students who are fighting against the tuition hikes.
In New York yesterday, just as the procession of marchers got underway in Montreal around 2PM, a group of individuals assembled near the Quebec Delegation took to 48th Street. The assembly was organized by the Occupy movement and by several student associations, namely CUNY (City University of New York). “There are protests in New York, Vancouver and Paris. I’m speaking with people from Russia today, and at noon, I was [on the line] with Switzerland. The movement’s popularity is international and undeniable”, exclaimed Martine Desjardins, president of the Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec (the FEUQ - Federation of Quebec University Students).
But even before Montreal and New York protested, hundreds of people in Paris and Lyon were assembled in solidarity. At Place Saint-Michel in Paris, some 200 French and Quebecois students were assembled near the famous fountain located at the heart of the capital. Amidst the colourful crowd come to support the quebecois students could be found numerous representatives of leftist political organizations, elected parisian officials, the former Minister of Culture Louise Beaudoin, and geneticist Axel Kahn, socialist candidate at the legislative elections.
“We admire the plight of the quebecois students, said Kahn, who was also formerly the rector of Université Descartes (medicine) in Paris. The fact that the students are refusing this mercantile vision of education, it’s terribly important for us. I don’t know if they will win, but things will never be the same after.”
For over an hour and a half, the joyous assembly jeered the Charest government and its special law. “We can no longer convey the image of a welcoming and free Quebec”, a representative of Sodé-Québec (Solidarité démocratie Québec) cried in a megaphone, as one of the members of the collective of French students who organized the protest.
Passing through Paris, Louise Beaudoin, who has also been Quebec’s Minister of International Relations, joined the protest. Throughout the day, she’d lunched with French senators, of which the former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. “They all wanted to know what was going on in Quebec and why the students were protesting, she said. In the French political class, everyone follows what is going on with us.”
Since recently, all major French media outlets have devoted lengthy reports to the “maple spring” (printemps érable). The majority are shocked by the protests’ violence in a country with a peaceful reputation. The duration of the conflict has also surprised a population accustomed to its government dealing with student movements.
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.