From The Guardian - May 2
The social unrest roiling Quebec is colour-coded red. One cannot miss the hundreds of thousands of people with cloth of the colour pinned to their coats and satchels; the stickers pasted on street poles and storefront mannequins; and the sheets fluttering from balconies and windows. The red squares – punning visually on a French expression to be squarely in the red, or in debt – are a gesture of solidarity with university and college students on a massive general strike against government tuition fee hikes.
They have also become a symbol of the most powerful challenge to neoliberalism on the continent.
Canadian students have been furiously mobilizing for a freeze on tuition fees since last spring, when the Liberal provincial government announced hikes of 75% over five years. A general strike launched this February shuttered most of the province's colleges and universities...
The government's response has been to wage a war on the students' right to collectively negotiate the conditions of their studies. It has mocked and vilified students in the corporate media; sought legal injunctions to dismantle picket lines and force teachers to class; and unleashed vicious police crackdowns and mass arrests against peaceful protesters as young as 15 and 16. Some students now wear red eye-patches after one was shot at close range by a flash-bang grenade and lost his vision.
From the Globe and Mail yesterday:
The Quebec government is preparing a new hard line to try to end a months-long student strike, signalling that a riot squad’s attempt to open a college Tuesday is only the start of the use of force to get students back to school.
Even as newly appointed Education Minister Michelle Courchesne sat down for fresh talks with student leaders Tuesday evening, Premier Jean Charest consulted caucus and Liberal riding association presidents to make sure he had full party support for a tougher stand.
It will be interesting to see where this goes.
Quebec soccer mom's seem to be mostly on board...