|The red square is a symbol of the strike|
Adapted from the Globe and Mail - more reports to come!
100,000 university and college students have joined a province-wide general strike and their numbers continue to grow, driven in part by the support of almost half of Quebeckers, according to recent public opinion polls.
Several thousand student protesters marched in blistering cold towards the National Assembly on Thursday, heightening tensions in their showdown with the Charest government. Police riot squads quickly intervened, creating a human chain and using tear gas to disperse students who tried to break down a barricade near the National Assembly building.
As a police helicopter hovered above, students reiterated their determination to maintain a strong show of force demanding that fees be frozen and eliminated.
“The Liberal government adopted a similar attitude in 2005 over changes to the student-aid program and retreated after students went on strike. … Over time we believe we can force the government to back down again,” said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, head of a wide coalition of university and college student groups, as well as labour and community organizations.