Volume 95, Issue 71

Thursday, February 7, 2002

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Day of Action protests sweep the country

London protest targets MPP's office

Candidates seek crucial political geek vote

Controversial speaker visits Huron

SSSC cash problem solved?

Day of Action protests sweep the country

By Jessica Leeder
Gazette Staff

TORONTO A new generation of student protesters froze literally while lobbying the provincial government to freeze tuition fees yesterday afternoon at Queen's Park.

Flanked by yellow-vested police on bicycles, a flatbed truck blasting rock music led a diverse parade of students marching, in below zero weather, from Ryerson Polytechnic University to the Ontario provincial legislature grounds yesterday as part of national Day of Action protests.

The demonstrations, organized by the Canadian Federation of Students, sought to bring attention to the rising rates of university tuition across the country.

Students from the University of Toronto, York University, George Brown College and various local high schools were among the approximately 4,000 attendees who coloured the protest with their posters, banners, rave cards, signs, socialist newspapers and anti-war slogans.

For just over an hour, protesters chanted, blew whistles, beat drums and sang as they were addressed by various speakers.

Ontario New Democratic Party leader Howard Hampton stood outside the police barricade greeting both media and protesters.

"I don't need to tell you that there is a crisis in post-secondary education," he shouted. "You all live it every day."

"This is what you have to do," Hampton said, commending the CFS for initiating the protest. "Universities and colleges do not have to become a recluse for students whose parents are well off."

Provincial Liberal education critic Marie Bountrogianni made a case for her own party as she condemned the government for its education policies.

"It's generational warfare if my generation does not let your generation have what we had," she said.

As students cheered, second-year U of T law student Louise James encouraged voters to "turf the [PCs] out on their ass" in the next election.

"So the students are having their protest, they believe in something," said Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Dianne Cunningham, who, like the rest of the PC party, was not present at the protest.

As protesters began to clear the grounds around 3 p.m., Hugh Ferguson, staff Serg. of the 52nd division of the Toronto Police Department, said police were not required to take any action.

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