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Quebec's "Maple Spring" Student Protest Forces Out Education Minister

LA PRESSE (Canada)

After three straight months of strikes, including several violent clashes, the Quebec student movement can finally claim a tangible victory. Quebec's Education Minister Line Beauchamp resigned Monday evening, to be replaced by Michelle Courchesne. The province's new minister is expected to meet leaders of the student associations later Tuesday, to “evaluate the situation,” she said, but not to negotiate, La Presse reports.

The “Maple Spring”, which began on February 2012, was prompted as a protest against the rise of university tuition fees. The Quebec government led by Premier Jean Charest had advocated an increase of 1,625 Canadian dollars over five years. The movement reached critical mass on March 22, when a demonstration gathered between 100,000 and 200,000 people in Montreal, one of Canada's largest demonstrations ever. Last Thursday, protesters launched smoke bombs on the city's subway line.

The Quebec student strike reached a new boiling point at the beginning of the week. On Monday morning, some 100 students blocked the access to Rosemont College, even as the school's administrators were urging the students to go back to class.

At least one student was injured when the police tried to make a breach into the crowd to access the Rosemont entrance. The 17-years-old student was treated for a head injury after he was hit with a billy club. Classes were suspended following this incident, as well as in neighboring Édouard-Montpetit College. Other colleges were also blocked Monday morning in Montreal. In many schools, the term has already been cancelled.

Read the original article in French



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