Montreal protesters march near Jean Charest's home
Demonstration comes ahead of Tuesday rally marking 100th day of protest
Thousands of people returned to Montreal's streets Monday night, some of them marching toward Premier Jean Charest's home as they continued to protest against tuition hikes and Quebec's new Bill 78 emergency law, which has been criticized as suppressing civil liberties.
Many of the protesters wore stickers reading: "I Defy Law 78," the province's new legislation that imposes strict rules on protests and heavy fines for those who break them.
Police said they tolerated the demonstration because it was mostly peaceful. There were several incidents of vandalism, the CBC's Alison Northcott reported, but nothing on the scale seen in other protests in recent days.
The protest in Montreal's tony Westmount neighbourhood appeared to be heading toward Charest's home, amid chants to bring the gathering there, but police blocked off the road near Charest's house.
Riot police also blocked St-Denis Street at De Maisonneuve Boulevard, near where violence unfolded on the weekend, as well as the entrance ramp leading to the Jacques-Cartier Bridge.
Following one of the most chaotic weekends of protests so far, in which 20 people were injured and some 300 arrested on Sunday alone, a group describing themselves as the "white bloc" took to the streets with the stated aim of encouraging a peaceful march and preventing hooliganism.
Some volunteers reportedly stood guard in front of banks to dissuade vandalism as the crowd marched past.
3 months of demonstrations
The protests against the Liberal provincial government's plan to hike tuition fees by 70 per cent over the next five years have raged on for more than three months.
The recently introduced Bill 78, which is mean to quell the demonstrations, has been decried as anti-protest legislation. The law was adopted Friday and effectively outlaws rallies of more than 50 people unless police are consulted at least eight hours ahead of time and informed about routes and timing.
The presence of hundreds of protesters downtown on Monday was yet another mass display of defiance of the law. Police were hoping to avoid a repeat of Sunday's violence, in which at least 20 people were injured, including 11 officers. None were seriously hurt.
The latest demonstration comes the day before a march planned for Tuesday to mark 100 days of student action. That rally has already received support from a coalition of unions and civil society groups.
In recent days, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and Montreal band Arcade Fire also expressed their support for the movement.
Student organizers estimate that 150,000 college and university students are still on strike.