"No to more lockdowns, no to the vaccine passport," said People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier.
A huge protest called "THE MOTIVATED!! LET'S TAKE BACK OUR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS!" on Facebook — also referred to as The Big Quebec Pro-Choice March 2.0" — took place in Montreal on Saturday. More than 2,000 people marked themselves as "going" on Facebook and 2,900 more marked themselves as "interested."
"We demonstrate together in a big march of 4KM, then we will take [...] snacks provided by Unis pour les sans-abri and all celebrate together. It will be in the same atmosphere as September 5, in the respect and good energy so do not hesitate to bring children," reads the Facebook event page, referencing a previous protest against the vaccine passport that brought out thousands of people.
The event was organized by groups Québec Pro Choix, Libre Choix, Femme de la liberté and Front commun du Québec.
The protesters arranged to meet at Place Jacques-Cartier at 1 p.m. before heading to rue de la Commune, passing through boulevard Saint-Laurent, rue Sainte-Catherine, and rue Berri before looping back to Place Jacques-Cartier for a celebration.
Here we go #Quebec #Montrealpic.twitter.com/6MkamkQ22F— Melissa \ud83d\udde3 (@Melissa \ud83d\udde3) 1641665615
A live video of the protest posted to the Libre Choix Facebook page shows a large group of demonstrators holding signs with sayings like "No Vax Mandate," waving Quebec flags, drumming and chanting "liberty," as they march through the streets of Montreal.
Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada (PPC), was also in attendance.
"It's very cold but, you know, that won't stop us. We are here today because we know that enough is enough and we want our rights and freedoms back," Bernier said in a video he posted to Twitter. "I'm not alone. You are not alone at home. Look here and in Paris and all over the globe people are tired. People are ready to fight for their rights."
We\u2019re protesting in Montreal today to say #NoVaccineMandates!pic.twitter.com/LemVeHrJhL— Maxime Bernier (@Maxime Bernier) 1641665545
He continued, "we are saying no to these draconian measures, no to more lockdowns, no to the vaccine passport and no to the division and segregation that our establishment leaders are imposing to us right now."
Quebec currently has a number of public health measures in effect, including a nightly curfew. Most stores are required to operate at 50% reduced capacity and close on Sundays. As of January 18, vaccine passports will be required to access the province's liquor and cannabis stores, the SAQ and SQDC. Health Minister Christian Dubé said vaccine passports could become mandatory at more non-essential commercial businesses in the near future.
Gyms, cinemas, bars and restaurant dining rooms are closed.
On the day of the protest, Quebec reported 15,928 new cases of COVID-19 as well as 44 more deaths — the highest daily increase in new COVID-19 deaths since January 2021.
Health Canada has a robust website with all the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and can answer any questions you may have.
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