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Champlain Bridge Protest

March 21, 2012 by staff 

Champlain Bridge Protest, Reaction to students who blocked access to the Champlain Bridge to protest against tuition fee hikes Tuesday morning was almost universally negative on websites and radio call-in shows.

“These kids redefine stupidity,” said one commenter on the Gazette’s website. “Spoiled brats,” another said. “By pulling stupid stunts such as this you are making more enemies than friends,” was a common sentiment, along with “get a job.”

Education Minister Line Beauchamp, who promised the government won’t budge in its plan to raise university tuition by $1,625 over five years, told protesters to stop inconveniencing the workers whose taxes pay for their studies. Montreal Mayor GĂ©rald Tremblay said the five weeks of strike activities were having a negative effect on the city’s economy, and called on Quebec to help pay the expenses.

Coming on the heels of recent demonstrations that blocked the Metropolitain Expressway and Jacques Cartier Bridge, and led to vandalism and 226 arrests when combined with the march against police brutality, the student protests have been facing a growing chorus of negativism from a disgruntled populace.

But rather than hurting the cause, the public backlash will actually help propel it forward, communications specialists predicted.

And organizers said the disruptions will escalate soon unless the government starts negotiating.

” For the general population (blocking the Champlain Bridge) might seem overboard,” said Anna Kruzynski, head of the graduate program at Concordia’s School of Community and Public Affairs and a strike supporter. “But if you look historically over time, you’ll see these kind of strong tactics … and other actions that aim to disrupt the regular functioning of society actually end up having good effects after the fact. They do contribute to the government responding positively to demands that are legitimate demands.

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