Dozens of protesters, including minors, were arrested at a college in downtown Montreal on Friday as demonstrations against tuition hikes escalate in the province.

Police arrested 37 people, including eight minors, after they allegedly broke into and vandalized the CÉGEP Vieux-Montréal on Ontario Street.

Dozens of students barricaded themselves on the front steps of the school late Thursday night.

Authorities intervened after demonstrators entered the building, overturned furniture and set off fire extinguishers.

"These people may face charges of mischief, assault and armed aggression against an officer," said police spokesman Daniel Lacoursière.


Many student protesters carried signs when they entered the CEGEP building in Montreal. (Raffy Boudjikanian/CBC)

The CÉGEP entrance was littered with debris Friday morning, including plywood sheets, protest signs and empty beer cans.

Quebec plans to increase tuition by a total of $1,625 over the next five years.

Demonstrators protest outside hotel

About 100 people protested Friday outside the Sheraton Hotel, where Quebec Education Minister Line Beauchamp spoke to private companies about education investment.

The protesters included student groups and locked-out Rio Tinto Alcan workers, who joined the group believing the company's CEO was attending Beauchamp's speech.

Tuition hikes "will have a negative impact on accessibility to education," said Louis-Philippe Savoie, a University of Montreal student who attended the protest. "It's imperative that students rise, protest and block this unacceptable tuition hike."

The Rio Tinto Alcan workers travelled from Alma, Que. where a lockout at the local aluminum plant is entering its third month.

Police barricaded René-Lévesque Boulevard between De la Cathedrale Street (Metcalfe Street) and Crescent Street during the protest.