On Saturday, September 12, a Montreal protest took place where individuals showed their support of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, as well as anti-mask and anti-vax views surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have referred to this as a "Freedom Protest." This is not the first protest on the topic since the start of the pandemic back in March.

The conversation surrounding the wearing of masks has been part of the public discourse for months as governments at various levels have required people to wear a mask in all indoor, public spaces.

This has been particularly escalated this week as the province has announced that those who refuse to wear a mask will be fined.

CBC pointed out that the "march [fell] on same day police given authority to fine anyone not wearing a mask." Such fines will start at $400.

Starting on Sherbrooke in front of Premier Legault's office and headed toward the Radio-Canada building, protestors could be seen and heard throughout the downtown core.

MTL Blog spoke with the SPVM, who informed us that there is no exact estimation of attendees yet. Some social media postings from those in attendance have predicted that about 40,000 people were at the event.

The SPVM did say, however, that it was a peaceful protest and that the majority of people co-operated with police in their efforts to maintain social distancing.

One onlooker of the protest told MTL Blog they saw that the majority of people were not wearing masks, which is not surprising considering the message of the protest.

Videos show multiple signs and flags being waved, including the Quebecois, American, pro-Trump, QAnon and the Patriotes flag, among others.

Signs were a mix of French and English, stating comments including beliefs that Bill Gates is the "bogeyman" and "Legault est roi" (which translates to Legault is king).

Many Twitter users have posted about the event. Some were in support of citizens exercising their freedom of speech.

Other users condemned the event for its mass gatherings and unwillingness to comply with protocols set to slow the spread of COVID-19.

One TikTok user from Montreal posted a video about the protest, calling the people in attendance "trash," which currently has over 76,000 views.

Various comments also made reference to the fact that people are protesting in support of Trump, despite not being in the U.S.

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