Montreal's mayor says he was disgusted after more than 200 people were arrested during Thursday night's protest in Montreal against alleged police brutality.

Mayor Gerald Tremblay said such demonstrations are hurting the city's image and economy, and it's time to have a debate on how they are handled in the city.

"Montrealers are really fed up [with] what is going on, and last night and today I'm disgusted about what happened and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again, so let's work together, try to find a solution," he told reporters Friday.

The anti-police brutality rally, held each March, draws a significant police response and usually results in scores of arrests and property damage. Thursday about 1,000 people participated in the demonstration.

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Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay speaks to reporters Friday. (CBC)

Tremblay said parents have a responsibility to make sure their children don't take part in violent protests.

"Yes, we have a right to demonstrate in Montreal but we don't have a right to cause violence on properties or injuries."

On Thursday night, protesters tossed projectiles at police, vandalized some stores and smashed two police cruisers, including one that was flipped over on its roof.  

Police chief defends police actions

Police Chief Marc Parent said 36 people were nabbed in isolated arrests Thursday, while 190 were detained in a mass arrest at a street corner near the downtown core.

Three adults and one youth were still in custody Friday morning facing assault, breach of probation and weapons charges.

Parent said seven officers were slightly injured, as were two civilians.

The chief defended police behaviour during the protest as professional.

"I'm sure you realize that wearing a uniform for a long evening and dealing with demonstrators is a demanding job," he said.

"It's demanding physically and it requires focus and concentration. … I think that under the circumstances, police officers did a very professional job and were able to manage the event as best as possible."

Police presence common at annual rally

The chief said keeping the protest orderly was difficult because demonstrators split into smaller groups and were challenging to contain.

Police action has been under increased scrutiny lately with the rise in the number of mass protests staged in Montreal over proposed tuition hikes.

Parent said he sympathizes with students who are trying to stage peaceful demonstrations and being overshadowed by the disruptive acts of the minority.

He said it's important that organizers work with police to ensure order and safety.

"We felt we needed to get across the message that those things need to be properly managed," he said.

More student protests are planned in Montreal over the next few days.

With files from Canadian Press