City council to vote Friday on mask ban
Published Monday, May 14, 2012 10:55PM EDT
MONTREAL - The City of Montreal is moving forward with plans to ban masks at protests.
Mayor Gerald Tremblay announced on Monday that city council will sit for a special meeting on Friday morning to vote on the proposed ban. After 14 weeks of student protests, Tremblay said that the proliferation of masks is an issue of public safety.
"When it comes to people that are wearing masks to hide their face in order to cause damage or infiltrate into quiet demonstrations, peaceful demonstrations, I think it is important for the police to have the opportunity and the right to stop those individuals," said Michael Applebaum, chairman of the mayor's executive committee.
Students protested outside of city hall while the announcement was made, some of whom were wearing masks.
With Montreal bylaws typically debated for a month between the first reading and a vote, Tremblay said that the mask ban would use an expedited process. The mayor claimed that the people throwing rocks and committing acts of vandalism at protests were wearing masks, requiring a speedy approval process.
The bylaw will only impact masks and other face coverings donned without "a real motive." The clause will allow for the city's Santa Clause and Caribbean parade to continue unimpeded. Under the proposed bylaw, fines would range from $500 to $3,000 for repeat offenders.
Under the bylaw, protest leaders would need to provide the Montreal police with a route for any planned demonstration.