Montreal city council voted down a motion Tuesday night to amend the controversial protest bylaw P-6, angering dozens of citizens who had come out to watch.

Projet Montréal councillor Alex Norris was behind the motion to repeal parts of bylaw P-6, which he says doesn’t belong in a democratic society. The municipal bylaw, passed last spring in the midst of the student movement, makes it illegal for demonstrators to wear masks and allows police to declare a protest illegal if the route is not submitted to authorities in advance.

A vocal crowd of about 50 people gathered in the corridors of Montreal's city hall on Tuesday evening as council debated whether it should repeal parts of the bylaw.

After council voted down the motion around 10 p.m., the group of people who had been watching the debate on a video feed attempted to storm city council chambers.

The unsuccessful attempt led to the group staging an impromptu sit-in, blocking the entrance to the chambers. 

Early in the evening, the same group of people wearing masks and red squares cheered and booed as they watched councillors debate the motion.

Highlights of P-6

  1. It is prohibited for people to participate in a demonstration with their face covered
  2. It is mandatory to disclose the location and itinerary of a demonstration to the police
  3. Individuals can face fines of up to $500

Norris, who called the bylaw "unconstitutional," had hoped to have the support of the majority of councillors.

"Is it right that we've seen over 800 arrests in recent weeks? More than during the entire October crisis?" he asked.

The motion was expected to go before council on Monday evening, but it was pushed to Tuesday's agenda. 

Hundreds of people gathered outside city hall to protest against the bylaw on Monday, and two people were arrested.