In Quebec, the students are revolting. This is both surprising and utterly predictable: surprising because college students in French Canada have by far the best financial deal in the country and should thus be the last people to complain, predictable because the Québécois have a long history of being difficult and demonstrate adroitly that, even when surrounded, the French will be the French.
The student protests in the province are now into their third month and, last week in Victoriaville, flared once again into spasmodic violence. Of the 2,000 protesters, 106 were arrested after eleven people — four of them police officers — were injured, and widespread property damage was inflicted. The agitators opted for a mixture of tactics, combining classics such as smashing windows and setting off pyrotechnics with some more creative criminality, such as throwing billiard balls at the cops. Since February, hundreds of riots, blockades, and college sit-ins have sent police-overtime costs soaring, not least because of the growing presence of a “Black Bloc” contingent that has brought with it a harder edge.
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