Quebec Students Endure Despite Police State Repression

by Stephen Petrina on April 27, 2012

Photo by Peter McCabe, The Gazette

After 11 weeks of the student movement in Quebec, marked by 185,000 in protests and strikes, momentum is increasing as the Charest government is nervously clamping down. With all of the ingredients of a revolution, police state tactics are marring what would otherwise be forceful, yet peaceful, dissent in a mass movement for political change.  Joel Bergman reports that

The scope of the repression by the police is almost unheard of in Quebec — one would have to go back 40 years to see anything of this magnitude.  Over the course of one week alone, we saw upwards of 600 arrests at various campuses and demonstrations.  At the Université du Québec à Outaouais (UQO) on 19th April, the police broke the picket lines and locked the students out of the campus.  A few hundred students soon arrived on buses to demonstrate in solidarity with their brothers and sisters. Teachers soon joined, as well.  The police unleashed brutal repression on them with a few students and professors left bloody from baton hits to the head.  The demonstration of around 800 students then held a mass assembly and decided to march on the police lines and reclaim the university. They marched on the police, beating them back and they managed to reclaim the university for a short period of time before more police forces were called in and mass arrests commenced.  Approximately 300 ended up arrested at UQO.

Over the last 3 days, police have been especially brutal in clamping down on the protesters.  Yet despite the pattern of intimidation and arrests, the movement is growing in momentum and will.  High school students, looking at their future, are joining in with a presence in the movement that we’ve not seen in North America since the 1960s.

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