Nightly clanging symphonies in protest against tuition hikes and the insane Bill 78 are spreading from Montreal to Sorel, Longueuil, Chambly, Repentigny, Trois-Rivieres and Abitibi in solidarity with students in Quebec.
The pots-and-pans protest has its roots in Chile, where people have used it for years as an effective, peaceful tool to express civil disobedience. The noisy cacerolazo tradition actually predates the Pinochet regime in Chile, but has endured there and spread to other countries as a method of showing popular defiance.
Thursday's protest in Montreal was immediately declared illegal by police, who said it violated a municipal bylaw because they hadn't been informed of the route. They allowed it to continue as long as it remained peaceful.
Although there was a massive police presence throughout the evening with the roar of a provincial police helicopter competing with the banging of the pots, there was little if any tension reported between demonstrators and police.
The Quebec government invited student groups Thursday for talks to end a three-month conflict over a planned hike in tuition fees after nearly 700 people were arrested overnight in the Canadian province.
No date was set for the meeting to which the four main student groups were invited, but it could talk place early next week, said the president of the FECQ student union, Leo Bureau-Blouin.
"We want to put the odds on our side to reach a definitive agreement that will bring peace back to our streets and return students to school benches," said Education Minister Michelle Courchesne.
Protests, some of which turned violent, have raged for over three months against a plan by provincial Premier Jean Charest's government to raise tuition fees at Quebec universities by 82 percent, or $1,700, over five years.
Tonight, at 8pm EST, take a large pot, go outside and bang it as loud as you can, in solidarity with the people of Quebec.