Montreal police detain 300 following May Day rally
Anti-capitalist protesters kept away from private club '357c' cited at corruption inquiry
Montreal police have detained some 300 protesters following a May Day demonstration in Old Montreal organized by a group called the Anti-Capitalist Convergence, or CLAC.
The noisy, colourful rally Wednesday was almost festive when it began early on the unseasonably warm evening.
Restaurant patrons watched from outdoor terraces as drummers, musicians, and chanting, flag-waving demonstrators gathered in Place Jacques-Cartier.
However, police declared the gathering illegal shortly after it started, under the controversial Montreal public order bylaw P-6. The bylaw makes it illegal to participate in an assembly with a face obscured by a scarf, hood or mask, and requires protesters to disclose to police in advance the location and itinerary of their demonstration.
"It was getting dangerous for peace and safety and the public order," said police Sgt. Jean-Bruno Latour.
Dozens of demonstrators tried to make their way to the march's destination, a private club known by its street number, 357c.
Witnesses at Quebec's inquiry into corruption in the construction industry have referred to the club in testimony as a meeting place for entrepreneurs, high-level bureaucrats and politicians to discuss business.
However, the demonstrators never reached the club.
Hundreds of police encircled the protesters at the intersection of de la Commune Street and St-Sulpice Street. They began herding — and in some cases, physically carrying — those detained into awaiting buses.
By 8 p.m. ET, the police had wrapped up their operation.
Latour said those detained would be identified and released. Under bylaw P-6, they could face fines of up to $500.
Latour could not say if anyone would face criminal charges.