Feb 26, 2013 / 8:33 pm
Without the salvos of snowballs pelting police, the chunks of ice flying through the air, and the officers chasing protesters across a snowy plaza, this could easily have been a scene lifted from the "Maple Spring."
The clash in downtown Montreal was a mid-winter twist on the student demonstrations that shook the city on a near-daily basis last spring and summer.
Thousands of people marched through the streets Tuesday in a protest that coincided with the end of Quebec's summit on higher education.
This time, protesters were venting at a different government.
The two-day summit saw the newly elected Parti Quebecois announce three-per-cent-a-year tuition hikes. The PQ's new fees are significantly lower than the ones proposed by the previous Liberal government â€” about one-fifth as much.
Premier Pauline Marois had left the conference feeling confident enough to declare that Quebec's era of social unrest was over.
"We have succeeded in putting the confrontations behind us," Marois said in the closing address of a Montreal summit that assembled students' associations, university leaders, unions and social groups.
"The social crisis is behind us."
A few hours later, signs of the familiar tumult re-emerged.
On the other side of town, armoured police confronted projectile-throwing protesters in a sequel to the clashes that drew international attention last year.
The demonstration blocked streets, altered bus routes and saw police drag some marchers out of the crowds in order to arrest them.
The skirmishes led to 13 arrests, mostly for unlawful assembly and assault with a weapon. Two of those arrested were carrying Molotov cocktails, police said.
The police department said one officer was injured.
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