Canadians who plan on participating in illegal protests will not be allowed to wear their Anonymous masks – or any other mask for that matter – unless they want to risk spending the next 10 years in prison.
The Canadian Parliament passed Bill C-309 and if it passes Senate as well and becomes law, all those found wearing masks at riots will be prosecuted. The initiators of the legislation hope to put an end to vandalism and violence, RT informs
If adopted, the law will not target peaceful protesting. On the other hand, it has already sparked some controversy.
The bill is a response to the 2011 Stanley Cup riots that took place in Vancouver and its main targets are said to be the members of the Blak Bloc anarchist group, which hide their faces with scarves, glasses and hoods.
However, those who oppose the law say that it’s not only unnecessary, but that it could also lead to some unwanted situations.
That’s because if the law doesn’t clearly specify it, even wearing a burqa – the traditional garment worn by some Islamic women – could be named illegal.
Furthermore, it may lead to lawsuits if protestors believe they’ve been unlawfully arrested, Liberal Member of the Parliament Carolyn Bennett noted.
Michael Forian of CJAD Radio has told
RT that the new law will “criminalize people” if law enforcement representatives decide that the protest they’re participating in is illegal.
As Forian highlighted, if 50 people from any major city in Quebec decide to engage in non-violent protesting, it could be named as illegal if their itinerary and the direction of the protest routes are not presented to the police force.
Another example are the peaceful protests made by Anonymous
supporters. If there’s one “bad apple” among them and he decides to do something that’s less “peaceful,” the entire campaign could be catalogued as illegal and all the participants could be accused of unlawful acts.