Another protest against COVID-19 rules in Montreal, about 20 people show up

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MONTREAL -- With the dreaded second wave of coronavirus increasingly evident, with 427 new cases announced in Quebec, protests were again planned on Saturday to demand an end to the health emergency -- though not many people showed up, at least in Montreal.

Social media callouts asked people who are against the government's infection-limiting measures to take to the streets in ten cities in the province.

In Montreal, protesters met outside the Sherbrooke metro station. At the appointed time, 1:00 p.m., there were 13 adults and two children there. A handful of other people later joined the group, which moved to the Saint-Louis Square.

One of the coordinators of the Montreal rally, Alexandre Laberge-Goyette, said he believes that the only way to voice a dissenting point of view these days is to do so in the streets.

He says he is opposed to the single-mindedness of the public discourse in Quebec around the pandemic. He also wants the authorities to release more data on the severity of cases and the proportion of asymptomatic people.

In his opinion, he said, the public health emergency has let government give themselves carte blanche to rack up unjustified expenses.

This week, Quebec Minister of Health Christian Dubé warned that the government could bring back more restrictive measures if the situation does not improve.

In particular, he singled out the regions of Quebec City, Montreal and the Lower St. Lawrence as nearing the "orange zone" under the province's colour-coded COVID-19 alert map.

This is the third level of alert out of four in the government system. Going to orange may mean the number of people allowed to gather will drop and that businesses such as bars and restaurants will have to close.

Dubé said this weekend is "another chance" to change the trend and avoid forcing the government into these tough choices.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19, 2020.

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