08/07/2012 07:18 EDT | Updated 10/07/2012 05:12 EDT

Quebec Student Protest Vote: Only Select Media Allowed To Attend

MONTREAL - A group of Quebec students voting on whether to return to school, a decision that could hold far-reaching political consequences, is limiting media coverage of their event.

The debate and vote were taking place Tuesday evening during an election campaign in which student strikes are among the central themes.

A number of such votes will be held by different student associations over the coming days.

The student association representing social science students at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal elected to bar mainstream media including newspapers, TV and magazines from their debate Tuesday at the university's downtown campus.

They did allow student broadcaster Concordia University TV, which has been a proud supporter of the strikes, to film excerpts of the meeting which attracted a few hundred students.

Students are voting across Quebec on whether to continue their boycott, which has been underway since February and included massive protest marches, some of which have seen vandalism and interventions by riot police.

The dispute focuses on plans by the Charest government to raise tuition fees by $1,778 over seven years — which is a hike of about 84 per cent, although it would still leave tuition in Quebec at among the lowest rates in Canada.

Students have been considering suspending their protest before the Sept. 4 election because there is concern it might push public support to the governing Liberals.

Attendance at the UQAM debate was so large it had to be moved from an auditorium to a large gymnasium.

When some media tried to enter the gym, they were told it was closed. The motion to bar the mainstream media was passed before the meeting was moved.

It is not the first time media have been barred from meetings by the students, who have been critical of mainstream coverage of their protests.

The association voting Tuesday night at UQAM belongs to the more militant of the umbrella organizations in the province's student movement, the CLASSE.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery
See Gallery