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Quebec students blasted for using Nazi symbols

Striking students use swastikas, fascist salutes against police in Montreal.

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Students protest in Montreal on June 8, 2012. Students protested against university tuition fee increases and Law 78, a measure passed last week requiring activists to notify police ahead of demonstrations. (Steeve Duguay/AFP/Getty Images)

Quebec students using fascist salutes and Nazi symbols to protest tuition hikes need a history lesson about the Holocaust, a leading Jewish rights organization said.

B’nai Brith Canada issued a rebuke today of students seen making Nazi salutes to taunt police and distributing pamphlets with swastikas on them.

“The actions of these protesters, whether for the purposes of deriding Montreal police or drawing attention to their cause, defile the memory of the Holocaust and remind us just how quickly anti-Semitism and the manifestations of hate can venture their way into our public discourse,” B’nai Brith CEO Frank Dimant said in a news release.

Students and demonstrators have been photographed holding their arms straight out at their chests as they marched past buildings such as financial institutions or police stations, The Canadian Press said.

They’ve also been heard calling cops the “SS.”

More from GlobalPost: Jacques Villeneuve tells Quebec students get back to school

A spokesman for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Toronto said it’s wrong for a political debate about education to use hateful language.

“It’s much more a function of the ignorance about history and the over-heated rhetoric that has plagued the current crisis in Quebec,” David Ouellette told CP.

Student leaders behind the tuition protests blame rogue elements.

The almost daily demonstrations – that range from peaceful marches, to naked protests, to violent confrontations – started in February when the government announced almost $1,800 in tuition increases over seven years.

It’s attracted the attention and participation of groups such as Occupy Wall Street.

“People at the protests could be students but they could also be citizens who are not students,” a student union spokesman told the Toronto Sun.

More from GlobalPost: Yad Vashem spray-painted with anti-Zionist messages

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/canada/120612/quebec-students-blasted-using-nazi-symbols