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Montreal students protests Sunday included April Fools’ Day spoof

MONTREAL – Quebec students continued their protest Sunday against university tuition-fee hikes with three separate events, including one spoof in honour of April Fools’ Day.

About 100 students, calling themselves “Super-Rich Students of Quebec”, gathered at Atwater Ave. and Ste. Catherine St. to call for an increase in, rather than a freeze of, tuition-fee hikes.

Holding Chanel bags and other pricey accoutrements, the students marched east along Ste. Catherine St.

Another group gathered outside the Laval Convention Centre, where Quebec Premier Jean Charest was enjoying brunch with several Liberal members of the National Assembly.

Charest told reporters that his government is willing to listen to students, but won’t budge on fee increases.

A few thousand cyclists, decked out in the movement’s signature colour red, raised the ire of some motorists as they rode around the city starting at Park Lafontaine, heading north, then west, then south on Décarie Blvd., then east on Sherbrooke St. through Westmount, ending in front of Charest’s office at Sherbrooke St. and McGill College Ave.

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There were altercations between some students and frustrated drivers at Van Horne and Clanranald avenues in Notre Dame de Grace, as well as Victoria and Sherbrooke Sts. in Westmount, Montreal police said.

“Some drivers were angry and were trying to pass through the crowd,” said Montreal police spokesman Daniel Fortier.

Students, many of whom have not attended classes for five weeks, are protesting a $325 annual tuition fee hike for the next five years – a 75 per cent increase.