Police break up anti-mask dance gathering at Quebec shopping mall, issue fines
Police are investigating an anti-mask dance gathering in a Quebec shopping mall over the weekend and, after the event, have begun to issue violations.
Police responded to a call Saturday afternoon that about 30 people were occupying an area in Place Rosemere, a shopping mall 30 minutes north of Montreal.
“We were informed that people were playing music and not respecting social distancing. [They] weren’t wearing masks,” said Martin Charron, an inspector for the Therese-de Blainville police force.
Police and mall security broke up the event, which lasted about five minutes.
No fines were handed out when police dispersed the dancers, but Charron said fines will be delivered later. Sometimes officers choose this course of action -- issuing fines later -- especially in cases where they are outnumbered by protesters.
In addition, the mall is a family-friendly spot, he said, so police didn't want to draw more attention than needed to the event.
On Monday afternoon, police gave an update, saying they've identified 18 violations and are beginning to issue fines.
Many of the violations have been attributed to one one person -- the organizer -- said Charron.
She is a woman whom police had identified earlier, he said. She was not previously known to police, and the event is not yet associated with a group.
A video posted online on Saturday shows the incident:
Video source: C'est normal au Québec's YouTube channel
An investigation will be carried out this week into all people present. Charron says it was the first time local police had intervened in a gathering of this kind.
No arrests were made.