Quebec student strike grows

Tens of thousands of Quebec post-secondary students are now on strike against tuition-fee hikes.

36,000 Quebec students now on strike over tuition-fee hikes

Police use pepper spray to disperse a crowd blocking the Delta hotel during a demonstration against higher tuition fees Thursday, February 16, in Montreal. (Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)

About 36,000 post-secondary students in Quebec will have deserted their classrooms by the time the school day starts Tuesday in strikes over planned tuition-fee hikes.

The strikes are the result of votes, with students in some universities and colleges choosing to use the tactic to apply pressure against the Charest government.

While less than 10 per cent of all students have chosen to participate, the figure has grown considerably in recent days.

Students are upset that the government will nearly double tuition -- to $3,800 from the current $2,200 -- over five years. They say education is a fundamental right and the tuition increase will discourage some people from continuing their studies.

But the government notes that Quebec tuition is so low that, even with the increase, it will still be the lowest in Canada.

The anti-government campaign has gotten more aggressive in recent days.

A Montreal police spokesman says 37 people arrested last week, after they occupied a downtown college, are due to return to court. He said those picked up by police had to promise to reappear to face charges of mischief and armed assault against police.

The students had barricaded themselves in a college and hurled projectiles at police, when they were rounded up shortly after midnight early Friday.