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Coronavirus: Journalists association condemns harassment at Quebec mask protests

Coronavirus: Quebec deputy premier ‘shocked’ by anti-mask protests
Quebec Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault said on Monday that she was shocked to see anti-mask protesters in Montreal and other parts of the province intimidating journalists. She added that “is not acceptable” and that the government will not tolerate such situations.

The Canadian Association of Journalists is condemning harassment and intimidation of journalists covering anti-mask protests in Montreal and Quebec City last weekend.

In a statement, the association calls on police to sanction protesters who put journalists’ health and safety at risk.

Quebec has made masks mandatory on public transit and in indoor public spaces in recent weeks, and rallies opposing the move have drawn large crowds.

Read more: Coronavirus: Social media users more likely to believe false information, McGill study suggests

On Sunday, a reporter with the TVA network was hugged against her will by two unmasked protesters during a live report from an anti-mask protest in Quebec City. A Radio-Canada journalist covering the event also had insults hurled at him by protesters.

A day earlier, another TVA reporter was subjected to profanity and threats while covering a Montreal protest.

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Read more: Protesters march against mandatory masks outside premier’s Montreal office

The Journal de Quebec reported Wednesday that one of the two men who hugged Kariane Bourassa, the TVA reporter in Quebec City, has apologized and said he didn’t mean to intimidate her.

Also Wednesday, the newspaper reported that a 26-year-old man was arrested for alleged online threats against Bourassa.

Quebec provincial police would only say they arrested a man in his 20s in Quebec’s Laurentians region who was released on a promise to appear at a later date.