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VICTORIAVILLE, Canada: Violent protest over tuition hikes outside the ruling Quebec Liberal Party’s convention left nine people injured and ended with 106 arrests, police said Saturday.
One student was fighting for his life in hospital after suffering a head injury, medical officials said.
In one violent exchange, some of the participants in Friday’s demonstration attacked and beat a police officer, according to local media, which said the officer did not suffer serious injuries.
Provincial police had initially arrested four people during the protest in front of the Victoriaville convention center, where Premier Jean Charest’s party was holding its annual meeting.
Overnight, amid clashes that saw protesters throw stones and police launch tear gas, officers stopped three buses full of students heading home to Montreal, according to officials.
“The police officers used necessary force to ensure citizens’ safety,” police spokesman Captain Jean Finet told reporters.
Police attributed the violence to a small group of troublemakers among the protesters.
The clashes come as student groups and the Quebec government resumed talks Friday to put an end to 12 weeks of demonstrations.
Since mid-February, the Quebec government has faced a stiff challenge from students angry over plans to raise university fees by $1,625 over five years as part of an effort to rein in the budget deficit.
Quebec’s three main student groups have mobilized some 170,000 students who are refusing to go to class until the matter is resolved. - AFP