Thousands gather in Quebec to push back against mandatory mask mandate

Thousands of protesters moved through downtown Montreal on Saturday to voice their views about the Quebec government's mandatory mask protocols.


Thousands of protesters moved through downtown Montreal on Saturday to voice their views about the Quebec government's mandatory mask protocols, according to the CBC.

While some of the attendees demanded freedom, there were others who expressed their critical views of the Coalition Avenir Quebec government and Premier François Legault.

Nathalie Warren, who came from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec for the protest, said that the mask mandate was "illogical."

"Say we go into a restaurant. ... We walk in wearing a mask, because, what, COVID is there? Then we sit down and we can take the masks off because, what, the COVID is gone?" She added.

The CBC drew attention to the fact that the "majority of [protesters] did not wear masks"—a small detail the outlet has failed to consistently address when covering protests around the province.

The government currently requires that masks be worn in restaurants when patrons are moving around since it is more difficult to abide by social distancing protocols when doing so.

"We want our liberty. We want the right to say yes to a vaccine. We want the right to decide. It's our life, it's our bodies, it's up to us," said Warren.

"I'm not OK with children going to school wearing masks, and physical distancing," Irène Sarmiento said. "It makes no sense. The children aren't to blame. The population is being abused."

The CBC reported that chants of "liberté" as the march made its way from McGill University on Sherbrooke Street to the CBC/Radio-Canada building on René-Lévesque Boulevard.

The science on masks is not conclusive due to asymptomatic carriers and how the virus can travel through airborne particles. Instead, public health experts have urged people to wear a mask not to protect themselves, but to protect others from coming into contact with their respiratory droplets.

The Quebec had initially expressed content with people choosing to protest, but on July 27, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault noted that there would be penalties if people continued to "transgress the rules of public health," according to the CBC.

"It has nothing to do with taking away anyone's right to protest or express themselves," Guilbault said. "It's obvious that anybody can protest. But nobody has the right to put anyone else's health in danger."

A recent study carried out in 16 countries and six continents concluded that "wearing face masks protects people (both health-care workers and the general public) against infection by these coronaviruses, and that eye protection could confer additional benefit," according to The Lancet.


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