Mayhem in Old Montréal after a demonstration against the curfew LPC/Radio Canada, 12 April 2021
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the Old Port of Montreal on Sunday evening to protest the curfew. They wanted to challenge the new directive of the Legault government which raised the curfew from 9:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Protesters completely blocked rue de la Commune near Place Jacques-Cartier.
The majority of the demonstrators were young people not wearing masks. They chanted slogans insulting prime minister Legault and demanding more freedom, while setting off fireworks. The initially festive atmosphere, however, deteriorated when some of them set fire to rubbish in Place Jacques-Cartier.
Dozens of police officers from the police service of the Ville de Montréal (SPVM), some from riot police forces, were sent to the scene to disperse the crowd. On the arrival of the police, shortly after 8:30 p.m., dozens of demonstrators dispersed to wreak havoc on the cobbled streets of Montreal’s tourist district. Fires were started in garbage containers at many intersections. Protesters picked up any objects they could find on the street to throw and smash shop windows.
Monday morning, according to the provisional report of the police service of the Ville de Montréal (SPVM), there were 7 arrests for criminal acts, 107 tickets issued for violation of the Public Health Act and 1 for violation of a municipal by-law. Police observed dozens of acts of mischief, arson, break-ins and obstruction of police activity. Three STM buses were targeted by the rioters and were slightly damaged by projectiles thrown at the vehicles.
The deputy prime minister and minister of public security, Geneviève Guilbault, reacted on Monday morning: “Excesses like those of last night in Old Montreal cannot be tolerated. We have the right to express our disagreements, but we must do so with the greatest respect for the health rules in force “.
The mayoress of Montreal concurred in the same vein: “The mayhem observed in Old Montreal last night is absolutely unacceptable. The fatigue linked to our struggle against COVID-19 in no way justifies the destruction of public property and non-compliance with the rules. We must remain united and stick together“.