The city of Montreal, concerned about masked malfeasance at public demonstrations, is drafting a bylaw that would make it illegal for people to hide their identity at protests.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay says banning masks, hoods and other types of face coverings would help prevent violence.

City officials were approached by the police several months ago after officers complained they had difficulty identifying violent troublemakers who were wearing masks at demonstrations.

"Flagrant violators" only: Dauphin

Some are questioning whether the proposal would violate constitutional rights but Claude Dauphin, the executive committee member in charge of public security, says the bylaw will target only the most flagrant violators.

"If an individual goes to a demonstration with a 2-by-4 and a ski mask probably ... he doesn't want to be identified," said Dauphin.

He adds that a Muslin woman's right to wear a veil or someone's right to wear a scarf in winter woulld not be affected by the bylaw.

The exact wording of the amendment is expected to be ready by the end of the month with a vote at city council at the end of February.