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Canadians Mark Day 100 of Protests Over Tuition Hikes

Thought students were up in arms about the high price of college here?

In Montreal, Tuesday marked the 100th day of student demonstrations against tuition hikes that have attracted tens of thousands to the streets of Quebec's capital city.

Many American students would welcome paying just $4,700 a year for tuition. That's the proposal before students in Montreal, but it represents an 80 percent increase (phased in annually until 2016). Students have been voicing their opposition in a series of protests that go back 13 weeks. The nationwide average in Canada for college tuition is $5,300.

(Average tuition and fees in the U.S. in 2011-12 was $8,244 at public four-year colleges and $28,500 at private nonprofit institutions.)

The demonstrations have become so large and disruptive to city services and activities that the government passed an emergency law on Friday designed to curb the protests. The measure requires marches to follow preapproved routes and give police eight hours notice or face fines. This restriction has not been well received by the students, who say it infringes on their free speech rights and have pledged to right the legislation in court.

On Tuesday, some demonstrators defied the law and broke away from the planned route. People carrying signs and red banners chanted: "Whose streets? Our streets!", according to BBC coverage.

This spring, the protests have grown increasingly disruptive. Press reports note that students have stripped naked, blockaded Montreal's main center for distributing wine and liquor, and set off smoke bombs in the Montreal subway stations in defiance of the fee hikes.

In New York and Paris this week, small protests took place in support of the student movement in Montreal.

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