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Protester who confronted Trudeau during Fête nationale festivities pleads not guilty to obstruction

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends Fête nationale festivities in his Papineau riding on Saturday, June 23, 2018.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends Fête nationale festivities in his Papineau riding on Saturday, June 23, 2018. Cora MacDonald/Global News

A protester who angrily confronted the prime minister in Montreal during Quebec’s Fête nationale holiday weekend appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty to one count of obstructing a peace officer in the execution of his duty.

The Crown refused to remove a bail condition forbidding Matthieu Brien, 31, from engaging in political activity or being in the presence of a politician, said his lawyer Marc Michaud.

READ MORE: Federal leaders court voters in Quebec on Fête nationale holiday

Michaud said if the case isn’t settled by the Oct. 1 provincial election, Brien — who is a member of a political party — won’t be able to vote.

“It takes a way all the political rights of my client,” Michaud said in an interview.

Brien confronted Justin Trudeau on June 23 as the prime minister was greeting citizens in a park located in his riding and said the Canadian leader “came to bother us at home.”

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READ MORE: Justin Trudeau responds to protester at Fête nationale event in Montreal

“You came to speak English to us?” Brien asked Trudeau in French. “Isn’t your party next week?” he said, referring to Canada Day.

Trudeau replied: “I am home.”

Michaud said the charge of obstruction is tied to what happened after Brien made the remarks, but wouldn’t go into details.

Michaud said he will file a motion in Superior Court this week seeking to annul the bail condition preventing his client from participating in political activity.

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Brien is a member of a sovereigntist political party, Michaud said, but wouldn’t say which one.

Local media reported he worked for the Bloc Québécois.

Brien told reporters outside the courtroom, “I have the impression he is a farce, this prime minister.”