As teachers took part in rotating strikes in the Canadian province of Quebec, communities, including parents, students and teachers formed human chains round public schools yesterday morning in support of the teachers' demands for proper education funding. According to the page of the organisers, je protege mon ecole publique ( I protect my public school), more than 280 schools and 20,000 community members took part in the action. Campaigners say 'if we, parents and professionals in education, don't protect our schools, who will?'

The main issue in the strikes and protests is the government's austerity agenda and the resulting lack of investment in education. Campaigners are determined to stop increased class sizes and an extension to the working week, from 32 hours to 35 - 40 hours, which they say will increase workload to an unsustainable extent and make it even more difficult to prepare properly to teach. The cost-cutting exercise will have a particularly serious effect on children with special needs, who will no longer be specifically counted in class size calculations.

Teachers are angry  with the nature of the response of the government to the thousands of people who have been out on the streets . The education minister has said that it would be 'awkward' to invest in education at the moment. The teachers union FAE :  'We reply to him in our thousands that it is very awkward on his part to mortgage future generations of students and to be so insensible to the human dramas that are lived daily in Quebec's classrooms.'

The next big day of community action will be on November 20th, meanwhile the rotating strikes continue.