Montrealers will be allowed to protest wearing masks, as bylaw to be scrapped

Politics, Quebec

The city of Montreal will officially scrap bylaw P-6, a 50-year-old regulation that forced demonstrators in the city to protest with their faces uncovered and provide police with an itinerary of their march, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante announced on Wednesday.

Speaking Wednesday morning to a meeting of the city’s executive committee, Plante said police already have sufficient tools in the form of the Criminal Code and the Highway Code to allow them to monitor and control public demonstrations.

Originally adopted in 1969 as a means to ensure public order, the bylaw was amended during the height of the student protests against tuition increases in 2012 to include a ban on face coverings during demonstrations as well placing an obligation on protest organizers to provide authorities with the route of their march.




Then in opposition, Projet Montréal criticized the 2012 amendments as improvisations slapped together in reaction to the almost daily protests, with one councillor describing them as legislation “written on a cocktail napkin.”

And in the ensuing seven years, that assessment seems to have been supported by a series of court judgments overturning the amendments as unconstitutional, as well as more than a dozen class action suits launched against the city for arrests carried out under the law.

Plante said a motion calling for the elimination of the bylaw will be tabled at the next meeting of city council on Monday.

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