Several protests across Quebec are planned for first night under curfew

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People are preparing to gather at 7:30 in several locations, including in Montreal, to hold a march extending into the night.

In a statement posted to social media, the group responsible for planning the gatherings called for the end of the "state of emergency," writing that they stand “against curfews and abusive measures.”

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Saturday will mark the first day of Quebec’s new curfew policy, unveiled by the province on Wednesday in an effort to contain the explosive spread of COVID-19.

Since that announcement, more than 5,000 cases of the novel coronavirus have been recorded in Quebec.

"We're talking here about saving lives and we're talking about saving our health-care system," said Premier Francois Legault during a Wednesday press conference.

As of Friday afternoon, approximately 300 people RSVP’d to the event spanning several regions.

At least 15 other cities are expected to see demonstrations on Saturday, including Quebec City, Sherbrooke, and Trois-Rivières.

At least one of the groups responsible for organizing the events was also involved in other anti-lockdown demonstrations in the province.

THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN FINES EXPECTED

The Montreal police department (SPVM) said it is well aware of the planned protests. 

"Our service will deploy staff there to supervise the event and ensure public safety," said the SPVM in a statement to CTV News. 

While demonstrations are still allowed by the province, they must take place before 8 p.m., and attendants must wear masks.

Anyone caught outside after 8 p.m. without a valid reason for being there, such as a personal emergency or a note from work, can be fined between $1000 and $6000.

Though the curfew applies across the province, just how it is enforced is expected to vary by region.

In a Thursday press conference, Deputy Premier Genevieve Guilbault said the province is giving agency to local police responsible for handing out tickets.

“Police are used to showing judgment and discernment,” said Guilbault.

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