Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says Saturday's large anti-mask protest showed disrespect to the 3,500 Montrealers who have died of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic six months ago.
"When I saw placards that read 'do you know anyone who died of COVID?' I found it particularly disturbing," Plante told reporters outside city hall Monday afternoon.
Plante closed her eyes, waved her hands and sighed when trying to describe her reaction to the protest on Saturday.
"It is one thing to disagree but it is quite another to hold a demonstration where no one is wearing a mask," Plante said. "And after it, where did those people go? They went home. Maybe they have children who go to school. Maybe they had dinner with friends."
"I find it irresponsible and it is not what we need at this time. We need solidarity."
The march was attended by thousands of people and featured speeches by conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine activists.
It began outside Premier François Legault's Montreal office and culminated near the Radio-Canada building in east end Montreal.
People of all ages complained about the government's response to the pandemic and the way the media have covered it.
Productive meeting with Legault
Plante spoke to reporters after emerging from a meeting with Premier Legault, where the two discussed Montreal's moribund downtown and its prospects for economic recovery despite the threat of a second wave.
"Because we feel like there's going to be another one," Plante said. "We both agree that the last thing we want is to confine everybody again."