Quebec student strikes may extend past 2-week run
Associations are pushing an anti-austerity message aimed at Quebec's Liberal government
Student strikes planned for later this month against the Quebec government's austerity measures could be extended indefinitely if enough votes are cast in favour of prolonged action, say student associations in Montreal.
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A demonstration planned for March 21 at Montreal's Place Émilie-Gamelin will kick off two weeks of student strikes and protests.
Demonstrations will be held there every following Saturday for as long as the strike continues.
"Austerity measures affect the whole population," said Charlotte Gilbert, a member of the UQÀM Social Science faculty student association.
"We believe that nobody should be left behind. A social strike is the only way to combat austerity."
Students call for public's participation
Organizers are hoping to replicate the massive appeal of 2012's Maple Spring protests, which garnered participation from members of society who were not students or university faculty.
Unlike in 2012, however, tuition-free schooling is not a major focus this year.
"We don't want this to be just a student movement," Gilbert said.
"We are calling on this to be a social movement that brings together militants from local unions, students, and collectives and community groups from across Quebec."
Mass support means strike may extend
Roughly 30,000 students from 25 associations in Montreal, Quebec City and Chicoutimi have voted in favour of the strike, including associations from Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal, according to the powerful student union group ASSÉ.
Concordia University's political science student association is set to vote on March 23rd to determine whether they will approve a one-week strike.
After April 7, student associations will vote regularly to determine whether the strike should be prolonged.
"We are going to have another general assembly after the two weeks, to see what students think about the situation, and if we want to go further into this fight," said Stéphanie Thibodeau, a member of UQÀM's education faculty student association.