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Protesters demonstrate against Quebec’s curfew, argue it creates a ‘climate of fear’

People participate in a demonstration opposing restrictions imposed by the Quebec government to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in Montreal, Saturday, January 16, 2021, as the pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. The Quebec government has imposed a lockdown and a curfew to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The curfew begins at 8 p.m until 5 a.m and lasting until February 8. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

A group of protesters braved a snowstorm on Saturday to gather in east-end Montreal to denounce the province’s COVID-19 curfew, which has been in place for a week.

Activists argued that the public health measure which is enforced by police officers has a “symbolic effect” but only actually serves to create a climate of fear across Quebec.

The protest took place in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough and was organized by a group called “No police solution to the health crisis.”

Montreal police were present at the protest and asked that everyone present wear masks and respect the physical distancing guidelines.

People participate in a demonstration opposing a curfew imposed by the Quebec government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Organizers said in a statement the provincewide curfew — a first in Canada — was dangerous for the population’s most vulnerable and accused the Quebec government of looking for scapegoats and to place guilt on individuals rather than taking responsibility.

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READ MORE: Quebec reports 2,225 new COVID-19 cases, 67 deaths as hospitalizations decline

Demonstrators also made sure to clarify that they had no affiliation with far-right conspiracy theorists who are anti-mask and anti-vaccine.

The group said people with those ideologies were not welcome and wouldn’t be tolerated at the protest.

Quebec’s curfew is in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Feb. 8. Earlier this week Quebec’s public health department said it was too early to say whether the new measures are having the desired effect.

The hard-hit province has now reported 240,970 confirmed infections and 9,005 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with 210,364 recoveries.

Quebec currently has 21,640 active cases.

–with files from the Canadian Press

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