The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) supports the strike mounted by the students of Quebec against the liberal government’s plan to increase tuition and other fees in universities by 75% over the next five years. More than one hundred thousand students, teachers, parents and supporters all over the province have been mounting protests actions since February 13 this year, in what is now considered the longest student strike in the history of Canada. We salute you all for fighting for the basic right of access to education and against cuts in social spending and other neoliberal policies of the government of Quebec.
At the same time, IWA condemn the Quebec government’s denial to heed the strikers’ call and the ban it imposed against any type of action protesting the tuition hike. The ban is a shameful act of repression as it curtails the peoples’ most basic democratic rights and freedoms, such as the freedoms of speech and to seek redress for grievances.
IWA likewise condemn the use of brute force against the protesting students: There were reports on the police’s inhumane treatment of unarmed students, especially during dispersal, where they use batons, rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades to disperse the strikers. The police were also known to mount arbitrary arrests.
The International Women’s Alliance sincerely hopes that the striking students of Quebec and their supporters will not waiver in their commitment to fight for human rights and for your number to continue to rise despite the challenges you face. May you also serve as inspiration for students all over the world to fight for the right to education and other basic social services and for better quality of life in general.