KMC » 2pm - Apr 22, 2012
Confrontations between police and protesters continued in Montreal Saturday as dozens of demonstrators were arrested outside a convention centre.
Police said 89 people were arrested Saturday after trying to disrupt the second day of a conference on the development of northern Quebec. Police had arrested a 24-year-old man earlier in the day for obstruction of justice.
In the wake of the protest, which was declared illegal at about noon, conference attendees were searched to ensure demonstrators didn't enter the event.
Saturday's demonstration went ahead despite the cold and rainy weather.
"I think people are starting to get frustrated," Myriam Moore, a 21-year-old student at Universite de Quebec a Montreal, told The Canadian Press.
"The police are abusing their power."
Protesters were issued a warning before police moved in to start making arrests. Those arrested were put on city buses, and will likely be fined and charged for breaking municipal bylaws, CTV Montreal's Aphrodite Salas reported.
However, some protesters could still face criminal charges, including mischief.
The heavy rain and heavy police presence sent the protesters home by later afternoon Saturday. There were no reports of vandalism.
Protests against a planned tuition hike, Plan Nord and police reaction to previous demonstrations have raged across Quebec in the past few weeks. A raucous protest on Friday appeared to indicate that demonstrators were growing more aggressive.
Seventeen people were arrested outside Palais des congres de Montreal on Friday as protesters hurled rocks at police officers and smashed store windows.
Inside the centre, Quebec Premier Jean Charest condemned the violence.
"We're not going to accept that," Charest told reporters on Friday. "We're certainly not going to be governed in Quebec because some people think violence and intimidation is the way to get things done."
On Saturday, student Fabrice Marcoux said protests are getting more violent because "the government has pushed us to our limits.
"When you're pushed back and you feel there is no issue, there is no exit possible, you have to act in an irrational manner to make the movement possible," he told CTV Montreal.
For about 10 weeks now, thousands of college and university students across Quebec have been rallying against Charest's plan to increase tuition fees by $325 annually over the next five years.
Demonstrations, however, have grown more and more nuanced - 21 April 2012.