Vibrant nightly protests over the past week in downtown Montréal, in solidarity with the Quebec student strike, are sparking global attention. As the Quebec-wide strike continues – it has now been going for over 11 weeks – a new energy is apparent in the city.
All across the city spotting thesymbolic red square patches is easy; on any city bus or métro car patches are proudly pinned on jackets or backpacks.
Despite repeated incidents of police brutality, strikingly hostile mainstream media coverage and a sustained refusal by the Quebec Liberal government to negotiate in good faith, popular support and energy toward the strike is growing. Beyond surveys, or poll numbers, the Quebec student strike is historic in nature, a sustained mass protest movement creating political space to debate not only rising tuition fees but also fundamental questions of social justice.
A clear shift is occurring on the streets, as protests are now expanding to highlight environmental justice and the growing economic inequities in Quebec at a time of austerity-driven economics.