QUEBEC — Tensions flared during rival demonstrations by right-wing and anti-fascist groups in Quebec City on Saturday, prompting police to arrest more than 20 people.
The groups were largely kept separate, with the exception of an incident when counter-protesters attempted to block the march route of the right-wing groups before being pushed back by police, who fired cayenne pepper spray.
The police service confirmed on Twitter that it had arrested 21 individuals who “were preparing to join a demonstration and were on the point of committing criminal infractions.”
Officers seized disguises and weapons including a baton, a slingshot with metal marbles and a bottles containing an unknown liquid.
Police spokesman David Poitras said it was unclear whether the suspects identified with any of the protesting groups.
No injuries or property damage was reported.
The arrests came after several hundred members of the right-wing groups Storm Alliance and La Meute gathered to march through downtown Quebec City.
Storm Alliance spokesman Dave Treggett said the group’s aim was to protest the policies of the provincial Liberal government.
The right-wing march prompted a counter-protest from a number of anti-fascist groups, who began their gathering in front of Quebec’s legislature.
A spokesman said the counter-protest had been organized in response to what he called racist and violent statements by members of the right-wing groups.
The Canadian Press