Montreal Student Protests: Police Arrest At Least 60 Students After Attempt To Storm Mall, Hotel

Montreal Protest

First Posted: 04/ 4/2012 11:45 am Updated: 04/ 4/2012 11:24 pm

MONTREAL - Almost 80 student protesters were arrested after a group of the demonstrators stormed Montreal's upscale Queen Elizabeth Hotel and a downtown shopping mall Wednesday.

Police said they were called to the hotel after demonstrators started flipping tables and smashing dishes inside the building where John Lennon and Yoko Ono staged their famous bed-in for peace.

Quebec students have been holding regular demonstrations across the province for weeks to voice their opposition to the government's plan to hike tuition fees.

Montreal police dispersed Wednesday's crowd at the hotel — but they say some demonstrators headed straight for the nearby Centre Eaton shopping mall.

Police said officers pursued the protesters through the mall, where display cases were knocked over and items were broken.

They said they eventually caught up to some of the demonstrators and made 76 arrests.

Quebec Superior Court also granted an injunction forbidding students from blocking entrances to l'Universite de Quebec a Montreal, Radio-Canada reported.

The university had petitioned the court on Tuesday.

The injunction also forbids threats or intimidating gestures against anyone trying to enter the campus' buildings. It is in force until April 19.

Several recent student protests have snarled traffic on city streets, blocked access to buildings and led to dozens of arrests after demonstrators clashed with police.

Students have been fighting the Charest government's plan to increase tuition by nearly 75 per cent, over five years.

Even with the increases Quebec will have among the lowest tuition rates in the country, at around $3,800 per year. Protest leaders, however, call their resistance a matter of principle to protect universal access to affordable education. Tens of thousands of students have voted, at public assemblies, to abandon their studies.

But they are now facing pressure on multiple fronts.

The "striking" students have been warned that their semester might be cancelled if they don't get back to class by next week. They are also facing legal threats from students who have successfully filed for court injunctions ordering some schools reopened.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier story said police made 60 arrests.

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Filed by Ron Nurwisah  |