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B.C. teachers' strike: parents, students rally across Lower Mainland

09/14/2014 02:08 EDT | Updated 11/14/2014 05:59 EST
Hundreds of parents and students have gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery to demand the government accept binding arbitration to end the teachers' strike that is threatening another week without classes.

The rally, one of three separate parent and student rallies planned today, was organized on Facebook.

"Wear red and bring noisemakers," says the Facebook page. "We want all students back in school now. Eighteen months of negotiations have failed."

The page describes the event as a grassroots parent-driven rally "organized by parents who have never met but have banded together through Facebook for the common goal of schools resuming."

Rallies are also planned at Canada Place and at Surrey's Holland Park.

The District Parent Advisory Committee in Surrey is advising parents to contact the parties in the dispute directly including MLAs, the premier, relevant ministers and the B.C. Teachers' Federation.

Bargaining quietly resumed in Richmond this weekend under veteran mediator Vince Ready. A media blackout has been imposed and neither side is commenting on the state of the talks.

Teachers have already voted to end their strike if the government will agree to binding arbitration — a proposal the province initially rejected out-of-hand.

There have also been veiled threats of a legislated end to the strike. Premier Christy Clark said earlier this week she is determined to get a conclusion to the strike before she leaves Oct. 9 on a trade mission to India.

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