Newfoundland and Labrador post-secondary students in St. John’s and Corner Brook went ‘All Out Like ’99’ on Wednesday (November 2nd, 2022) to protest against tuition hikes.
Hundreds of students gathered at MUN’s clock tower in St. John’s and marched to the Confederation Building.
The protest stopped traffic in one direction and garnered plenty of media attention, despite silence from the provincial government.
The crowd was loud, lively, and angry. Students were heard on Prince Phillip Drive chanting:
“Education is a right, we will not give up the fight!”,” What do we want? Free education, When do we want it? Now”., “Tuition fees? No thanks, maybe you should tax the banks”, and “How high is tuition? Too damn high (repeated)”.
Students arrived at the Confederation building chanting: “This is what democracy looks like! This is what democracy sounds like.”
The protest gathered facing the Confederation building but ended up on the steps of the Confederation to be heard.
Many students aggressively knocked on the doors while MUNSU executives continued rallying the crowd in chants using megaphones.
Members from CUPE, MUNFA, CFS-NL and other unions were present in support of the rally.
NL’s NDP leader, MHA Jim Dinn, was also present and joined post-secondary students in the march as an act of solidarity.
There is a general frustration among students regarding rising costs of living and tuition hikes.
International students are concerned about discriminatory policies and lack support while feeling like the province’s cash cows. Meanwhile, Indigenous students are looking for anti-colonization and solidarity of Metis, Mi’kmaq, and Inuit peoples within government and post-secondary institutions.
After it became clear that the government would not respond to students during the first ‘All Out Like ’99’ protest, impromptu speeches were given by several international and College of the North Atlantic students.
The First Nations circle, Matt Barter, and a therapist spoke. The therapist spoke about financial stress’ impact on mental health.
NDP MHA Jim Dinn also discussed education as an investment, putting pressure on the government through mass action while encouraging students to work to get on the other side of the Confederation Building doors.
In Corner Brook, students met with CFS-NL and their GSCU executives to march down to the Sir Richard Squires Building, protesting for accessible education.
There will be more information and content to come.