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Hundreds of students and workers, including many CUPE members, barricaded the University of Victoria to protest against the Campbell Liberals on opening day of the BC legislature. The shut down was part of a city-wide ‘Day of Defiance’ against the Liberal agenda of cuts and privatization held October 7.

“We are here today to tell this government to stop destroying the futures of thousands of students and young people,” CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill said on the picket line at UVIC. “If this government has its way, there won’t be a decent-paying public sector job in the province for these young people when they graduate. They will all be privatized with drastically reduced wages and little or no union protection.”

O’Neill praised the protesters for taking serious action and cited the 30 per cent tuition fee hike, child care cuts and the lowering of the minimum wage to $6 as huge barriers to their chances as the future workforce of British Columbia.

After the UVIC barricades were lifted, protesters joined in a snake march through the downtown area ending up at the legislature for a rally that featured a pia00740061 of Gordon Campbell. The puppet image was battered to pieces, symbolizing the anger and frustration that the public feels for the government’s community-destroying agenda.

The day was organized by the Communities Solidarity Coalition, a grouping of dozens of local organizations representing seniors, the poor, First Nations, students, workers and others. Women’s groups, human rights activists, environmentalists, pensioners and other community groups played a major role in the day’s success as did CUPE, HEU, the BC Government Employees’ Union, the Victoria Labour Council and other labour bodies.