Premier Jean Charest of Quebec, Canada, said yesterday that he had suspended negotiations with university students aimed at ending weeks of protests over proposed tuition hikes, a development that could lead to a long summer of demonstrations and clashes with police. Charest said the talks reached an impasse and a huge gap remains after four days of talks.
Student leaders said Quebec’s education minister stepped away from the table, saying it was not politically possible to reach an agreement. One student leader called for more street protests and said he planned a large rally in Montreal for Saturday. Student groups called for a tuition freeze, but the government has ruled out that possibility. Students also object to an emergency law put in place to limit protests.
At least three demonstrations took to the streets of Montreal hours after the talks broke down, all at one point merging into one that police said was at least a few thousand strong. Two people were arrested. More than 2,500 people have been arrested since a student strike at more than a dozen Quebec colleges and universities began in February.