Between 200 and 300 protesters took to downtown Montreal streets Thursday night for the annual police brutality protest.

The demonstration started at Lafontaine Park, where organizers spoke out against cases where police officers use excessive force, in particular against marginalized individuals and communities.

“As a queer person it’s really hard to watch these kinds of abuses happen against marginalized communities in general. These things shouldn’t be happening. There should be recourses against these kinds of abuses of power and this is one way we can show our support for victims,” said one of the organizers, Jeff Helberg.

The protest turned into a march as it left the park and moved into the Gay Village, where the windows of at least one business were smashed. Projectiles, including firecrackers, were also launched.

Police officers in riot gear used tear gas and pepper spray to push the crowd back, ordering them to disperse around 8:30 p.m. after a number of armed assaults, as well as vandalism, had occurred.

Police said three people were arrested during the protest. 

One protester was taken to hospital with a head injury after being struck by a projectile and three police officers suffered minor injuries. 

Organizers said this year’s protest was meant to target the far right. Demonstrators said they believe police allow far right groups, including anti-immigration and Islamophobic groups, to ‘spread propaganda.’

They also wanted to remember people killed by police in Montreal, including Alain Magloire and Pierre Coriolan, both black men with mental health issues.

The group’s route was not known to police – earlier this month the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled that demonstrators are not required to submit their routes to police in advance.

- With files from The Canadian Press