Emergency law faces vote in Quebec student protest

May 18, 2012, 7:19 PM

Associated Press

MONTREAL (AP) – Quebec’s provincial government is expected to vote Friday on an emergency law that would shut some universities and impose harsh fines on protesters blocking students from attending classes as the government looks to end weeks of demonstrations against tuition hikes.

A vote wasn’t expected until late Friday afternoon at the earliest and could take place later if delayed by a number of amendments. In the mean time, critics were expressing concern about the planned legislation.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in downtown Montreal on Thursday night as the government introduced the bill to quell the most sustained student protests in Canadian history. But there was none of the violence that erupted Wednesday when windows were smashed, more than 120 people were arrested and police and protesters were injured.

On Friday, the city of Montreal passed a bylaw restricting protesters from wearing masks during demonstrations. The city also said demonstrators will have to provide details of their itineraries beforehand.

Officials have said they believe protesters wearing masks have been causing the most trouble. A similar bylaw was under consideration in Quebec City.

“Our cities can no longer become targets,” Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said. “It’s time to reclaim our streets, our neighborhoods, our cities.”

Rights groups have protested the bylaw, calling it a restriction on the democratic right to demonstrate.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest said the proposed provincial legislation would not roll back the tuition hikes of $254 per year over seven years. Rather, it would temporarily halt the spring semester at schools paralyzed by walkouts and push up the summer holidays. Classes would resume earlier in August.

Proposed fines range from $7,000 to $35,000 for a student leader and between $25,000 and $125,000 for unions or student federations if someone is prevented from entering an educational institution.

Martine Desjardins, one student leader, called the bill a “declaration of war against the student movement.”

But embattled Education Minister Michelle Courchesne said that despite the legislation, talks would go on and an agreement could still be reached.

“Even if there is a special legislation tonight, tomorrow, there can still be an agreement after the law,” she said.

Some of the loudest cheers early on Friday were reserved for one man who stood on a garbage can and burned what looked like a copy of the government bill.

The three-month conflict has caused considerable social upheaval in the French-speaking province known for having more contentious protests than elsewhere in Canada _ and the country’s the lowest tuition rates.

The U.S. consulate in Montreal last month warned visitors and U.S. expats to be wary of demonstrations.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

World News

Ukrainian servicemen carry the coffin with the remains of Army Col. Oleksander Makhachek during a f...
Associated Press

As Ukraine loses troops, how long can it keep up the fight?

ZHYTOMYR (AP) — As soon as they had finished burying a veteran colonel killed by Russian shelling, the cemetery workers readied the next hole. Inevitably, given how quickly death is felling Ukrainian troops on the front lines, the empty grave won’t stay that way for long. Col. Oleksandr Makhachek left behind a widow, Elena, and […]
30 days ago
(Instagram photo/@Clayton.Wolfe)...
Wills Rice

Arizona realtor announces new listing on ‘the top-floor’ of Mount Everest

Arizona realtor Clayton Wolfe scaled the treacherous 29,035-foot heights of Mount Everest in Nepal and announced a new listing at the summit.
1 month ago
(Photo by: Jonathan Wiggs/Boston Globe/Getty Images)...
Associated Press

‘Tiger King’ star ‘Doc’ Antle arrested for money laundering charges

“Tiger King” star “Doc” Antle was arrested by the FBI and expected to appear in court Monday to face federal money laundering charges.
1 month ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...
Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in Israel for talks with political and business leaders

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is in Israel for five days of talks with political and business leaders of the Middle Eastern country.
1 month ago
A man rides a bicycle in front of a building ruined by shelling in Borodyanka, on the outskirts of ...
Associated Press

Russia takes steps to bolster army, tighten grip on Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin issued an order Wednesday to fast track Russian citizenship for residents of parts of southern Ukraine largely held by his forces, while lawmakers in Moscow passed a bill to strengthen the stretched Russian army. Putin’s decree applying to the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions could allow Russia to […]
1 month ago
FILE - McDonald's restaurant is seen in the center of Dmitrov, a Russian town 75 km., (47 miles) no...
Associated Press

De-Arching: McDonald’s to sell Russia business, exit country

McDonald’s is closing its doors in Russia, ending an era of optimism and increasing the country’s isolation over its war in Ukraine. The Chicago burger giant confirmed Monday that it is selling its 850 restaurants in Russia. McDonald’s said it will seek a buyer who will employ its 62,000 workers in Russia, and will continue […]
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
Emergency law faces vote in Quebec student protest