Dozens fined at Quebec City demonstration against public health rules

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Quebec City police issued more than 30 tickets at a demonstration on Saturday where several hundred people were protesting public health restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The demonstration was held in front of the National Assembly building in Quebec City. Police said many demonstrators did not respect physical distancing and did not wear masks, both of which are now mandatory at protests in COVID-19 red zones, including Quebec City.

No arrests were made, but 34 tickets were handed out for violations to public health rules, municipal by-laws and the Highway Safety Code.

"We recognize that demonstrating is a democratic exercise and a fundamental right," said Quebec City police spokesperson Étienne Doyon. "However, people wishing to exercise this right must respect a distance of two metres and wear a face covering."

Quebec City police had closed traffic in both directions on Boulevard Honoré-Mercier, between Grande Allée and René-Lévesque to allow demonstrators to respect the two-metre physical distancing rule.

Quebec provincial police also escorted several convoys heading to the protest from various municipalities between Montreal and Quebec City.

In Quebec, fines for breaking public health rules can range between $1,000 and $6,000 per person.

More than 7,000 people in the province have died of COVID-19.