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MONTREAL – Quebec Premier François Legault said on Tuesday it was “unacceptable” for people to protest the vaccine passport recently in front of hospitals and schools, adding that the province could use the law to end at these events.

While thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Montreal and other cities in Quebec to protest the public health measure, only a fraction of those crowds showed up in hospitals and schools during the last few weeks.

A dozen demonstrators showed up at Glen Hospital on Decarie Boulevard. September 13, far from the thousands of people who marched through the heart of the island earlier this month.

Yet with protesters also showing up at schools and allegedly harassing students, the prime minister said he was considering an additional step to keep healthcare workers and young people safe.

It would be a law to create a safety zone around such a building, similar to that introduced by Quebec in 2016 to prevent protests within 50 meters of abortion clinics.

“We are not excluding anything,” Legault said Tuesday during a press scrum at the National Assembly.

“Indeed, it could be a special law that we are looking at, if we have the right, if we can do it.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also promised during the election campaign that he would introduce a law that would ban protesters from blocking access to hospitals after several protests across the country.

But experts have said these laws already exist in the Criminal Code and in some cases the police simply do not enforce them.

“It is unacceptable to have anti-vaccine protesters in front of our schools, in front of our hospitals,” Legault said on Tuesday. “I can’t stand this.”

Following his remarks, the Minister of Education Jean-François Roberge, who had previously said he was “outraged” by the demonstrators arriving at Louis-Riel high school, tweeted on Tuesday “Let us leave the students out of these demonstrations!

Already this school year, there have been five anti-vaccine protests near Montreal schools, according to liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy, who said he saw children being yelled at and filmed by protesters.

In the National Assembly on Tuesday, she suggested that a short-term solution would be to seek an injunction every time a protest is announced on social media.

“We can no longer just tweet our outrage, we must act,” she said from her seat in the Blue Room. “We need to protect children before this gets out of hand.”

More protests are planned in Montreal and elsewhere, with Facebook events describing them as protests against “dictatorial governments” and their “Nazi passport.”

–With files from The Canadian Press


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