An anti-racism protest in Montreal has been declared illegal after police said projectiles were thrown at officers.
Thousands of people gathered in front of police headquarters in downtown Montreal on Sunday to protest racial violence and police brutality in light of the recent killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn.
The protest started out peacefully but about three hours later, Montreal police declared the gathering illegal after they say projectiles were thrown.
The officers responded with pepper spray and tear gas.
Windows were smashed, fires were set and the situation degenerated into a game of cat-and-mouse between pockets of protesters and police trying to disperse them.
The killing of Floyd on May 25 sparked a series of protests in several cities across the United States since his death.
The Montreal rally organizers said the demonstration is to show solidarity with American anti-racism activists, but added that it is also an opportunity to express anger at the killing of racialized people in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada at the hands of police.
A statement from The Black Coalition of Quebec said the group stands with protesters and that Montreal is not free of racial injustice and violence from the city’s police officers.
The demonstration began at 5 p.m. in Quartier des Spectacles outside the Montreal police headquarters on Saint-Urbain Street.
Montreal police spokesperson Raphael Bergeron told Global News police could not yet comment on whether they would fine protesters who don’t respect physical distancing measures.
Organizers said they will encourage distancing between demonstrators to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
They also asked that those who attend wear a face covering.
–With files from the Canadian Press