MONTREAL — Business owners in Montreal were cleaning up and assessing the damage today following an anti-curfew protest that turned violent.
Hundreds gathered in defiance of a return to an 8 p.m. curfew that took effect in Montreal and Laval beginning Sunday evening.
The mostly young crowd danced to music from loudspeakers while lighting fireworks and chanting, “freedom for the young,” before the festive atmosphere quickly degenerated as some protesters lit garbage fires and smashed the windows of businesses in Old Montreal.
Police fired tear gas and rushed the crowd, prompting dozens of protesters to scatter and cause mayhem down the cobblestone streets of Montreal’s historic district.
A police spokesman said today seven arrests were made, though there was no immediate word on charges, and that 107 tickets were issued for public health violations.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante today denounced the crowd’s actions and urged solidarity in the face of a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The mayhem observed in Old Montreal last night is absolutely unacceptable,” she wrote on Twitter. “The fatigue linked to our fight against COVID19 in no way justifies the destruction of public property and non-compliance with the rules.”
Montreal police say they are still investigating possible incidents of mischief, arson, breaking and entering, and obstruction of police.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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