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New law makes it illegal to wear a mask at unlawful protests
OTTAWA – A new change to the Criminal Code that makes it illegal to wear a mask at a protest or riot is likely to be challenged in the courts as limiting freedom of expression, experts say.
The clause makes it a crime for a person to attend an unlawful protest "while wearing a mask or other disguise to conceal their identity without lawful excuse." Supporters say it is one more tool to help the police maintain order, while civil liberties advocates say it tramples constitutional freedoms.
"It's outrageous, there's all kinds of legitimate reasons to mask your face in terms of a protest," said Micheal Vonn, policy director with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
The bill, which just passed the Senate and awaits royal assent, is similar to a bylaw in Montreal that restricts mask-wearing during protests. A challenge to the constitutionality of that bylaw is before Quebec's Superior Court.
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Anti-mask laws - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In many US states, there are anti-mask laws.
Anti-mask laws date back to the mid 20th Century when states and municipalities passed them as to inhibit the Ku Klux Klan, whose members typically wore hoods of white linen to conceal their identities.[better source needed]
In some states you may be required to carry a note from your physician stating that you need to wear the mask for health reasons.
In current times masked political protestors, such as those in the Occupy Movement, and in particular, Anonymous, a collective group of online hackers with strong political beliefs, who consistently sport Guy Fawkes masks, have been targeted with anti-masking laws.
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