Dozens of protesters wearing masks gathered at Montreal City Hall Monday night, angry about a proposed by-law that would ban face-coverings during public demonstrations.

They say the bylaw is unnecessary, even unconstitutional.

"There's no need for this by-law and when we encounter violent police often they hide their badges, even though they're supposed to wear them all the time," one protester said.

Necessary tool, police say

For their part, police say the bylaw is necessary to help them do their job.

"There's only certain protests where the risk factor is high and where people wear this with the goal of violence," Montreal police chief inspector Paul Chablo said.

The protest was peaceful outside.

But police escorted several protesters out of the building.

Two violent confrontations

Last year, Montreal police dealt with two major riots.

One was during the NHL playoffs in April.

Another came in August, following the death of 18-year-old Montreal North resident Fredy Villanueva who was shot by a Montreal officer.

City Hall is expected to vote on the bylaw at the end of February.