Provincial police were called in as local officers struggled to handle crowds that disrupted two separate events, including one featuring Premier Jean Charest and, to a lesser extent, one involving federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
There had already been warnings that some students saw their daily protests as more than a fight against tuition increases. Some had taken to referring to the demonstrations as Quebec’s “Maple Spring,” in a rhetorical nod to broader protest movements elsewhere in the world.
That point was repeatedly driven home Friday by protesters who signalled that the unrest was about more than university fees — it was about the general direction of the province.
“It’s not just the tuition increase,” said Alexis Remartini, 18, who took a 60-kilometre bus trip from St-Hyacinthe to attend the protest.
“The movement has grown to include other things we don’t agree with.”