A 47 year-old man was arrested by Montreal Police (SPVM) for mischief during an anti-mask protest in Montreal’s Plateau-Mont-Royal borough, according to police spokesperson Véronique Comtois.
Hundreds of people who oppose the wearing of masks gathered at Lafontaine Park to protest the government’s public health measures.
Organizers called the protest shortly after Montreal mayor Valerie Plante’s comments on Wednesday, when she invited anti-maskers to “go protest in a potato field.”
Demonstrators danced, shouted and hugged, ignoring all public health guidelines such as physical distancing.
Trump, American and Quebec flags flew along those of the Front de Libération du Quebec, a separatist and terrorist paramilitary group from the 1960s and 1970s.
During the speeches, people claimed the government’s sanitary measures are too harsh and infringe in their personal rights.
During a livestream Tuesday night, one of the protest organizers shared his thoughts on the situation.
Daniel Pilon, who says he is an accountant and calls himself a “columnist and free-thinker,” said the number of cases reported by the government and the reality he sees on the ground don’t match.
His guest, Eve-Marie Roy a massage therapist who offers “energetic healings,” also dismissed the severity of COVID-19, saying it’s all a conspiracy in order to install a new political regime and economic order.
She also calls vaccines “a threat to our cellular integrity”.
The director of McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, Dr. Joe Schwarcz says it is hard to convince people who believe in conspiracy theories of the evidence.
“There’s people who are just so severely ignorant that there is just absolutely nothing you can do to convince them,” Schwarcz said.
“You have to have some degree of intelligence to understand the science and when you are so scientifically illiterate that you cannot follow the simplest epidemiological arguments, unfortunately there is absolutely nothing you can do.”
Dr. Schwarcz’s advice to anti-maskers?
“Wear a mask, stay six feet apart or go six feet under,” he said.