SHAFAQNA- Canadian police forces have clashed with the demonstrators who were out on the streets in Montreal to protest against the provincial government’s austerity measures.
The Thursday protest, which began at 1:00 p.m. local time at Victoria Square in downtown Montreal in the province of Quebec, convened demonstrators from unions, student federations and social groups.
The ASSE student federation is said to be the main organizer of the demonstration, which gathered some 75,000 in protest at the austerity measures introduced by the provincial government in Quebec.
The demonstration started off peaceful, but clashes erupted between riot police and a group of the protesters towards the end of the rally.
Security forces then attempted to break up the gathering by firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
However, despite the reaction from police and the provincial government, an ASSE spokeswoman, Camille Godbout, said that the protesters “will continue to mobilize.”
The Thursday rally was believed to be the largest so far this year that confronted Quebec’s plans to reduce spending on education, health care and social services.
Critics of Quebec’s Premier Philippe Couillard argue that the austerity measures put forward by his administration have had a direct negative effect on the quality of public services in the province. However, the officials insist the cutbacks are necessary.
Earlier in March, a similar anti-austerity protest rally turned violent in Quebec City as police forces used teargas to disperse the crowd.
Students have been protesting across the province of Quebec since February 2012 in a bid to build pressure on the provincial government to drop a plan to increase tuition fees.
Some of the demonstrations have turned violent, with many students detained during clashes with riot police.
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