Quebec student protest marks Charest election

Quebec students march through Montreal's Plateau Saturday afternoon as part of ongoing tuition protests.
Thousands of people joined Saturday's march against tuition hikes. (Radio-Canada)

Thousands of students, angry over plans to raise university tuition, took to the streets of Montreal on Saturday for another large protest march, which coincided with Jean Charest's ninth anniversary as premier.

The afternoon rally was the latest in the long-running protests against the Charest government's planned tuition hikes.   

The students say the hikes are one of several moves by his government that contravene popular opinion.   

The protests have been getting increasingly heated in recent days.   

The websites for the Quebec Liberal Party and the province's Education Department were apparently hit by a cyber attack on Friday evening.   

While no one had claimed responsibility, Twitter and Facebook users had circulated a link denouncing the Charest government and explaining how to crash a website.   

The province is proposing to raise tuition by 75 per cent during the next five years, which would be by far the highest fee hikes in the country over that period, though Quebec's tuition would remain among the lowest.

Student leaders say that because a university or college education has replaced a high-school diploma as the baseline requirement for most new jobs, it should be kept affordable or even free. Despite that, the average undergraduate tuition countrywide has jumped 266 per cent since 1990, far outstripping inflation.

With files from CBC News