Thousands of people gather in downtown Montreal to protest against Quebec’s mask rules

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Thousands of demonstrators marched through downtown Montreal on Saturday to protest against the Quebec government’s mandatory regulations on masks.Protesters – the vast majority of whom did not wear masks – carried placards and wore T-shirts indicating a variety of motivations and ideologies in opposition to masks.

Some have called for freedom, some have criticized the government of the Coalition Avenir Québec, Prime Minister François Legault or the director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, and others have adopted various theories on COVID-19 and American politics.

“I find that illogical,” said Nathalie Warren, who traveled from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. for the protest.

“Let’s say we go to a restaurant,” she said. “We come in with a mask, because, what, COVID is there? Then we sit down and we can take off the masks because, what, the COVID is gone?

Under government regulations, masks are mandatory in restaurants when customers are on the move because it is more difficult to maintain physical distance from others in these cases, provincial health officials said. When a client is seated, they can remove their mask as long as they are two meters away from others.

“We want our freedom. We want the right to say yes to a vaccine. We want the right to decide. It’s our life, it’s our body, it’s ours, ”said Warren.

“I do not agree that children go to school with masks and physical distances,” said Irène Sarmiento. ” It does not mean anything. Children are not to blame. The population is mistreated. ”

So far, the Quebec government has not made masks mandatory for returning students.

Protesters carried signs indicating a variety of motivations and ideologies in opposition to face covers. (Jean-Claude Taliana / Radio-Canada)

There were frequent spontaneous chants of ” freedom“As the march passed from the main gates of McGill University on Sherbrooke Street to the CBC / Radio-Canada building on René-Lévesque Boulevard. Montreal police monitored the event from motorcycles and bicycles.

In previous anti-mask protests in the province over the past month or so, protesters have argued that the rules for mandatory masks are not fair and that the threat of COVID-19 is not as serious as it is. report it.

On Saturday, some people demonstrated kissing or exchanging double-cheeked kisses.

In the past, the Government of Quebec has said that people have the right to demonstrate. On July 27, responding to the demonstrations of the previous weekend, Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault said there would be “consequences” if incidents continued to occur where people “break health rules. public ”.

“It has nothing to do with denying anyone’s right to protest or speak out,” Guilbault said. “Obviously anyone can protest. But no one has the right to endanger the health of others. “

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