POLITICS

Quebec students make their protest permanent by getting red square tattoos

06/15/2012 04:00 EDT | Updated 08/14/2012 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - A park named for a beatified nun turned into a makeshift tattoo parlour Thursday night as protesting students sought to make their mark — on themselves.

About 200 students turned up to get their movement's red square symbol permanently inked onto their bodies. Only about 100 managed to make it into the chairs after hours of waiting in line at Emelie-Gamelin park before the event ended so another session may be organized.

Gabriel Roy, a blogger who organized the tattoo-a-thon on Facebook, said he did it to give a "monumental" single-digit salute to the Quebec government, which has been locked in a dispute over tuition fee increases with students since February.

Roy, who wears a red square tattoo over his heart, explained the event was meant to send "a clear message about the permanence of resistance."

The tattoos cost $10 each and three artists were on hand to do the drawings. People wanting a tattoo had to fill out a registration form. They also had to sign a waiver and prove they were over 18. Organizers rejected any minors, whether they had parental consent or not.

"If people aren't 18 or don't have an identity card then we don't tattoo them," Roy said.

Most of the people getting the four-centimetre-square tattoo were at the park to join the regular nighttime anti-tuition fee increase march which always begins from the site. There have been 52 such marches.

Maude, a student who was about to get a tattoo on her left shoulder blade, didn't seem concerned about its permanence.

"I think that if one day I'm OK with the idea of raising tuition, I'll look at my tattoo and it will remind me," she said.

Others plopped into the tattoo artist's chair on a whim.

"I think I'll indulge myself," said David, 30.