MONTREAL - A march to mark an anniversary in Quebec's protest movement was swiftly broken up by police today.
Several hundred people had gathered to mark the event on a cold, grey afternoon — a far cry from a year ago, a summer-like day when tens of thousands of students staged a huge and memorable march.
The police response was also different on this March 22.
Officers swiftly jumped in to break up the event, ticketing people for municipal infractions such as marching against traffic.
Several groups of protesters were also subjected to kettles, the controversial crowd-control tactic in which people are penned into a confined space. Several bystanders complained that they were kettled simply for being near the protesters.
There are still frequent demonstrations against the three-per-cent-a-year tuition hikes imposed by the new Parti Quebecois government.
However, the size and intensity of the protests is nowhere near the events of last year — when a number of faculties were shut down as students blocked a plan to nearly double tuition.
The biggest protests were held on the 22nd of each month, with the one in March being perhaps the most memorable.
Police have been signalling recently a declining tolerance for the protests, and a willingness to move in faster to break them up. Last week, for instance, officers stopped the city's annual anti-police brutality march just as it was getting underway.