The head of the main English rights lobby group in Quebec was removed from the St.-Jean Baptiste Day parade by Montreal police.

Authorities say they took the action for William Johnson's own protection. A pie had been thrown in his face. He had been taunted and jeered by the crowd, and there were scuffles.

Johnson was elected president of Alliance Quebec a few weeks ago. He has taken an activist role as leader.

Johnson says he joined the parade "to make a point, that English Canadians are part of Quebec." He said he tried to remain inconspicuous, and the reaction points to the "anglophobia that underlies the whole separatist movement."

Parade organizers denounced Johnson's participation as a provocation.

The night before in Quebec City, police fired tear gas at a large crowd of rowdy and drunk young people after a concert to mark Quebec's national holiday. Several shop windows were broken before police intervened.

The incident was nowhere close to the violence of last year, when millions of dollars of damage was caused.