Montreal

Here's what you need to know about the protest in Quebec City on Saturday

As demonstrators amassed in the provincial capital to show solidarity with protesters in Ottawa on Saturday, police closed off more streets and directed traffic to try to prevent the demonstration from turning into a blockade.

Heavy police presence, road blocks near legislature as protest coincides with Carnaval

A sign reading, 'When fear becomes the only virus' rests on a lamppost in front of the Quebec National Assembly ahead of a rally planned for Saturday. (Erik Chouinard/Radio-Canada)

Demonstrators amassed in the provincial capital to show solidarity with protesters in Ottawa on Saturday.

Trucks and smaller vehicles drove around the National Assembly during the day, blasting their horns and calling for an end to public health restrictions. Many flew Canadian and Quebec flags and "freedom" signs from their vehicles.

Quebec appears to have learned lessons from what has happened in the national capital, where downtown streets have been clogged by demonstrators for nearly a week.

In anticipation of the convoys, Quebec City police (SPVQ) blanketed the streets around the National Assembly, and major arteries and side streets were closed to impede circulation in the area. 

Several municipal vehicles and tanker trucks were also parked near the grounds of the National Assembly and on Grande-Allée Boulevard to stop protest vehicles from convening near the legislature.

As the protest grew throughout the day, police expanded the area around the National Assembly off limits to cars.

Honoré-Mercier Boulevard is closed between Grande Allée and Côte d'Abraham boulevards, as is Grande Allée between de Claire-Fontaine Street and Honoré-Mercier Boulevard. 

René-Lévesque is also closed off to vehicles, between Honoré-Mercier and de Salaberry Avenue.

Traffic is congested throughout much of the downtown, from the Montcalm area, to the Saint-Roch neighbourhood in the Lower Town.

Municipal trucks are parked under the Saint-Louis gates to prevent vehicles from moving between Grande Allée Boulevard and Old Quebec City. (Justin Hayward/CBC News)

Carnaval de Québec is a go

Not far from the protest, the annual Carnaval de Québec is also underway, with sites near the National Assembly and Old Quebec City.

Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand visited the carnival Saturday afternoon. He said protesters have been acting respectfully for the past two days.

"For now, it's going peacefully. People are here sending their message to the government ... There's a lot of family right there. Everything is all right," said Marchand. 

The mayor encouraged people to come out and enjoy the the annual event despite the demonstrations, adding that it's "secure to be here."

City measures to support citizens, merchants

In a news release Thursday, the city said it had implemented several measures to protect citizens and merchants during the demonstration.

City officials and police will work together to maintain public access to businesses, they said, and people are asked to use public transportation to get downtown this weekend. 

Grande-Allée Boulevard is closed between de Claire-Fontaine Street and Honoré-Mercier Avenue, as is Honoré-Mercier between Grande Allée and René-Lévesque boulevards. (Radio-Canada)

Public libraries will also remain open, and snow removal is expected to go on as usual.

Residents are also being asked to leave their garbage out one hour before the usual time — 6 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. — in order to allow collection to start earlier, in the event of traffic congestion.

In the area targeted by the demonstrations, priority lanes will be set up to allow the movement of emergency vehicles at all times.

With files from Miriam Lafontaine, the Canadian Press and Radio-Canada

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