Gathered at the call of Québec Debout, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched on May 1 in the streets of Montreal to protest against health measures. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deemed this demonstration “distressing”.
On May 1, around 30,000 demonstrators gathered in the early afternoon to cry out their dissatisfaction with the health measures introduced in the country, which corresponds to the largest demonstration recorded in the country against the rules in force. The demonstrators symbolically marched through Viau and Sherbrooke streets in Montreal, located around the Olympic stadium, which is home to one of Quebec’s main vaccination centers.
“Freedom, liberty, liberty” and “a people, united, will never be defeated”, chant the demonstrators.
– Francis Pilon (@FrancisPilon_) May 1, 2021
According to the Journal of Montreal, the demonstrators came to denounce these health rules which they consider “exaggerated” and “unjustified” by shouting slogans such as “no to the mask”, “no to the curfew”, “no to the health passport” or even “freedom , freedom, freedom ”. The procession was also surrounded by an imposing police presence, according to AFP journalists present on the spot.
This day of mobilization was announced and organized by “Québec Debout”, a political group represented in the Parliament of Canada. As Radio-Canada points out, the holding of this event prompted the Quebec government to postpone appointments made at the vaccination center at the Olympic stadium for fear of overflows.
However, the event took place in a good mood, with participants often unmasked and little concerned with respecting physical distancing. However, a few incidents broke out around 5 p.m. once the demonstration was over. A small group of hooded people sent smoke and fireworks at the police, which led to arrests.
“The collateral damage from health measures is much greater than the collateral damage created by the Covid”
“We are simply asking for an end to health measures,” Daniel Pilon, who presents himself as one of the co-organizers of the rally, told AFP. Asked about the location of the event, suspected of having been chosen to disrupt the vaccination campaign, he replied: “We are not anti or pro-vaccines, we are pro-choice,” he said. Explain.
According to him, the restrictions would have increased the number of suicides and bankruptcies in Quebec. “Collateral damage [des mesures sanitaires] are much bigger than the collateral damage created by the Covid, ”he said.
Asked on April 30 about this demonstration, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau estimated that the people who gathered to demonstrate would contribute to the extension of these public health measures. “It is deeply saddening to see people reacting like this,” he said, while conceding that the country was going through “difficult times” and that there was “a lot of anxiety, a lot of frustration. this moment”. For his part, the Quebec Minister of Health also deplored this event, stressing that the authorities’ priority was to vaccinate the population.
On May 1, Canada recorded more than 1.2 million cases of coronavirus and 24,200 deaths, more than half of which were in Ontario and Quebec. In addition to the march against sanitary measures, an anti-capitalist demonstration took place the same day in Montreal in the Jarry park sector.