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University students asked to leave Legislative Assembly Thursday

Article and Photo from CBC News

By: Dylan Hackett, CBC News
Posted: April 7, 2016

Approximately 50 students, most from the University of Moncton, were told to leave the Legislative Assembly Thursday following protests over financial relief of student debt.

Many students in the gallery wore T-shirts with the number 35,200, which they say is the average student debt in New Brunswick and the highest in Canada. 

House Speaker Chris Collins ruled the T-shirts were, in effect, participating in the debate from the public gallery.

Twice he asked the students to cover up and when they refused, he ordered the sergeant-at-arms to remove them.

In the legislature halls, the students began chanting slogans.

Roxann Guerrette, president of the University of Moncton student federation, spoke outside the legislature.

She says when the government did not adequately address their concerns, the students began their protest.

"They asked us yesterday to come to Fredericton, saying that they wanted to negotiate more, but there was nothing new brought to the table," she said. "We're still waiting to have that program revealed. Yesterday, they told us it was going to be next week, so."

Francine Landry, the minister responsible for post-secondary education, said she was surprised by the protest, saying she had told the students that a new program was in the works to respond to their concerns.