Tuition protest blocks Quebec government building

Students were blocking access to a Quebec government building Friday in a sign of heightened tensions over tuition-fee hikes.
Students block the entrance to the Montreal offices of the Quebec Department of Education. They said they would stay there until the Charest government dropped plans to increase tuition fees. (CBC)

Students were blocking access to a Quebec government building Friday in a sign of heightened tensions over tuition-fee hikes.

About 100 student protesters created a human barricade outside the Montreal offices of the Education Department.

They said they would stay there until the Charest government dropped plans to increase tuition fees.

"We'll be blocking the outside of the building to demonstrate to the government of Jean Charest that for as long as he plans to be blocking access to higher education, we'll be blocking things in Quebec," said Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, spokesman for a student protest group.

Students gathered to protest Friday morning. (CBC)
Quebec wants to nearly double the cost of a university education over the next five years.

Even with the increases, the province would still have by far the lowest university tuition in the country.

Quebec has generally frozen its fees for decades. As a result, in-province students pay an average of $2,168 per year -- far less than the national average of $5,138.

The planned increases would bring Quebec's undergrad fees to $3,793.