(From the Canadian Press)MONTREAL - Montrealers woke up to a mess this morning far beyond the smashed windows and shards of glass being swept off the streets of their city.
The intensity of student unrest in the province was illustrated by riotous scenes that unfolded in the city on Wednesday night.
Banks and other businesses, cars, even a police station had their windows shattered by an angry mob that spilled out from a larger crowd of thousands of student protesters.
Police said early today that 85 people were arrested, including three minors, and that three police officers suffered unspecified injuries.
The protesters' furious reaction came after talks broke off between the provincial government and student groups seeking an end to an 11-week battle over [university] tuition hikes.
After the talks were suspended, the leader of the most militant student group, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, warned: "All this does is pour oil on the fire."
The trouble then erupted over several hours as students swarmed the streets and frequently battled with police.
The events that subsequently transpired will have Quebecers asking: What now?
An absence of easy answers was repeatedly underscored by Wednesday's developments.
Some pundits suggested that, in the interest of social peace, the Charest government should back down from its planned $325-a-year, five-year tuition hikes.
The government has repeatedly said it will do no such thing. Even if it did backtrack, there's no guarantee things would settle down.
Some students are now casting this as a deeper struggle — with the phrase, "Quebec Spring," emanating from the lips of several protesters who issued a medley of demands Wednesday: the resignation of Premier Jean Charest, a general election, the complete elimination of tuition, or even broader social change.
More at the Source.
As a student in the province of Quebec, I'm so angry I can't event talk right now. This was entirely preventable, IMHO. I find it depressing that: (i) the student side of things is so underreported in the mainstream media in this province (most/much of which are controlled by one media conglomerate, Quebecor) such that recent polls apparently indicate that the public at large are for the tuition fee hikes, (ii) the government would try to claim that this is not their fault when they negotiated for barely 48 hours (after refusing to even do so for weeks on end) and using an entirely specious argument to suspend the negotiations .
And the brutality of the police (which suits the government, at the very least) staggers me, as well as the fact that the mainstream media don't even report half of it.