Police break up illegal religious gatherings three times in 24 hours in Outremont
MONTREAL -- For the second time in less than 24 hours, Montreal police (SPVM) officers intervened on Saturday morning to put an end to two major illegal gatherings in the Outremont borough of Montreal.
The SPVM reported being called on Saturday morning, around 9:30 a.m., to go to a "place of worship" located on Hutchison St., near Saint-Viateur St. in the predominantly Hasidic Jewish area of the city.
The police found that "dozens" of people were inside, said SPVM spokesperson Veronique Comtois.
A general offence report has been drawn up and it will be submitted to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) so that prosecutors can determine whether statements of offence should be given.
"The people who were present have been identified," said Comtois.
One person was also arrested for obstructing the work of the police.
ASSAULT FRIDAY NIGHT
On Friday evening, Four Montreal police (SPVM) officers were allegedly assaulted when they intervened at the scene of an illegal gathering in the same neighbourhood.
A 911 call alerted the SPVM about the gathering in question, around 5:15 p.m. Friday, inside a building located on Durocher St., near the Lajoie Ave.
When the police arrived, dozens of people fled the scene who had gathered, many wearing traditional Hasidic Jewish garb.
"The officers were able to ascertain that offences were committed in connection with the government decree on the ordinance of sanitary measures," said SPVM spokesperson Julien Levesque. "Unfortunately, a majority of these offenders decided to leave the scene by physically rushing at the police officers."
Levesque reported that four police officers were victims of assault.
"A general offence report has been drawn up by the police and will be sent to the DPCP (Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions)," said Levesque.
The officers in question were not injured, however, said the SPVM spokesperson.
Despite the turn of events, only three statements of offence were issued later in the evening for non-compliance with the curfew in force in Quebec, a measure that is part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police responded to the same synagogue Saturday just before noon and wrote a general infraction after officers found more than 10 people had gathered inside the building.
-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2021.