Montreal seeks to ban masks in protests
MONTREAL - The city of Montreal's executive committee has approved a new measure to ban face masks at demonstrations.
Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said he wants city bylaws amended to also make it mandatory for protest organizers to submit the location and itinerary of marches, or police will be allowed to declare them illegal.
He said Monday this new bylaw would give police the tools they need to keep the peace.
Fines for infractions would also increase, ranging from $500 to $3,000 for repeat offenses.
Tremblay said the new recommendation about masks is meant to target those intent on causing trouble, such as those wearing balaclavas or ski masks, as well as people holding rocks and billiard balls.
"If in a demonstration people have masks, you have to use your good judgment," he said. "It's not because someone has a mask that he will do acts of vandalism, so in that sense it would be tolerated. What we're looking for are the people that are breaking the law, the people that are doing vandalism and violent actions so they're easy to identify."
The proposed bylaw is not a direct result of recent anti-tuition-hike protests, but instead due to anrti-police-brutality marched that have turned ugly. Tremblay brought the request to the
city's public security commission in mid-March.
The public may weigh in on the recommendations on May 28 and then if approved by city council, the new bylaw could come into effect sometime in June.