Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal, on April 11, 2021.

Giuseppe Valiante/The Canadian Press

Hundreds of protestors gathered in Montreal on Sunday in defiance of a newly adjusted curfew intended to stem surging COVID-19 case numbers before dozens of them started fires and damaged property in the city’s old quarter.

Police responded with tear gas in a bid to control the crowd, who were purportedly protesting Quebec Premier Francois Legault’s decision to roll the city-wide curfew back from 9:30 to 8 p.m. The move, previously replicated in other COVID-19 hot spots across the province, took effect in Montreal and nearby Laval on Sunday.

The protest began in relative calm, with a mostly young crowd dancing to music from loudspeakers while lighting fireworks and chanting, “freedom for the young.”

Story continues below advertisement

But the festive atmosphere quickly turned violent as a few protesters lit a garbage fire in Montreal’s Jacques Cartier Square, which was met with tear gas from riot police.

Police soon rushed the crowd, prompting dozens of protesters to scatter and cause mayhem down the cobblestone streets of Montreal’s tourist district.

They lit garbage fires at many intersections and seized projectiles from city streets, hurling them at nearby windows and shattering many.

A spokeswoman for Montreal police said she couldn’t offer any comment on the protests, describing them as an ongoing situation. She said that more information would become available as things stabilized and police on the scene could file their reports.

Marwah Rizqy, a Liberal member of the provincial legislature that represents a Montreal riding, tweeted her disapproval of the protestors’ actions.

“Chanting freedom while ransacking windows of stores that are already just getting by. It’s disheartening / outrageous,” Rizqy tweeted in French.

A few protesters were still out on the streets at around 9:30 p.m. throwing glass, breaking city infrastructure and running from police.

Story continues below advertisement

Sirens rang through the streets as firefighters put out the many small blazes lit along Old Montreal’s alleys and narrow roads.

The curfew ostensibly at the heart of the protest was imposed to curb COVID-19 infection rates that have spiked in several regions in recent weeks.

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus.

Hospitalizations jumped by 25 to 608, with 139 patients in intensive care.

Health Minister Christian Dube tweeted that the numbers are concerning given that 58 per cent of new cases involve people under the age of 40.

“While vaccination accelerates, we must continue to adhere to the measures if we want to defeat this pandemic,” Dube wrote.

Story continues below advertisement

“Let’s show solidarity.”

Legault said last week that he was imposing the health order in Montreal and Laval despite a relatively stable case count as a precaution, due to the heavy presence of more contagious virus variants.

Residents in those regions who leave their homes between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. without a good reason could face fines of over $1,000.

Legault extended the curfew in Montreal and other red zones from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in mid-March, but said last week that the evolving COVID-19 situation gave him no choice but to reverse course.

Legault previously placed Quebec City, Levis, Gatineau and several municipalities in Quebec’s Beauce region under the earlier curfew.

The government also closed schools and non-essential businesses in those areas, and Legault announced Thursday that the measures would be extended until at least April 18.

Story continues below advertisement

The province also gave 59,447 doses of vaccine on Saturday, and has currently given a shot to just over 22 per cent of the population.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies