Nearly 700 arrested in Canada student protests: police
MONTREAL- Agence France-Presse
Police detain a protester during a demonstration against tuition fee hikes in Montreal May 23, 2012. REUTERS photoNearly 700 people were arrested overnight in rowdy demonstrations in Montreal and Quebec over a planned hike in student tuition fees with rocks being hurled at police, a spokesman said Thursday.
Police in Montreal had said the unsanctioned protest would be tolerated if there was no trouble but after some unruly behavior around midnight they moved in and arrested 518 demonstrators. Another 170 people were detained in Quebec.
All were issued with a more-than $600 fine and released on Thursday morning, the police spokesman said.
Several thousand demonstrators had poured into Montreal's central square late Wednesday for the rally, defying a law passed last week requiring organizers to notify authorities eight hours ahead of public demonstrations.
Of those arrested in Montreal, 506 were held for unlawful assembly but among the other 12 detentions one person was held for "armed aggression," two others for assaulting police, and one more was detained for wearing a mask.
Protesters said they were handcuffed and their arms held behind their back, local media reported.
Demonstrations have raged in Montreal since mid-February over a plan by provincial Premier Jean Charest to raise tuition fees at Quebec universities by 82 percent to rein in a budget deficit.
Some of the demonstrations have turned violent, with store fronts smashed.
The conflict escalated on Sunday with more than 300 overnight arrests after the passing of the new public assembly law.