A large group of police officers was employed in the raid at a hotel in Montreal where two reporters from Rebel News stayed on Saturday, April 10.
The Canadian conservative outlet Rebel News’s employees were gathering at the Airbnb to report on the curfew and Quebec lockdown.
Two reporters Keean Bexte and David Menzies, were arrested in the raid.
CTV News Montreal claimed that the officers were allegedly in action for the group’s non-compliance to public health protocols, as they observed that the group did not wear masks nor keep social distancing guidelines.
Rebel News said the Airbnb where their reporters were staying was sealed off, and they were informed that it was a “crime scene.”
“Of course it’s not. In fact, when we asked them what the ‘crime’ was, all they could come up with was that our staying in the hotel was an illegal ‘gathering,’ contrary to Quebec’s lockdown laws,” Rebel Media founder Ezra Levant said in a statement on Saturday.
“That’s obviously not true. It is a registered, legal hotel rental on Airbnb. In fact, we had fewer guests than the facility is built for.”
Montreal police tried to force their way into our Airbnb houseboat. I told them to get a warrant. They responded by declaring the boat a crime scene, taping it off, and refusing to let me back in to get my medicine. Dozens of cops. https://t.co/roDg8jvAa1 pic.twitter.com/1wlKSMML4g
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) April 10, 2021
The statement also reviewed that the police were denied access at first for not having a warrant by Levant, resulting in what the reporter called “manhandled”, with reporter Keean Bexte handcuffed, and David Menzies was placed in the back of a police car.
Levant accused Montreal officer’s harsh handling as an act of “vengeance” since Rebel News reported how lockdown protesters at Quebec got in trouble with police officers at the scene. Reportedly, if protesters were spotted without a mask, they would be detained and subjected to a fine of $1,550.
This is not the first time that Rebel News reporters clashed with the Montreal police. On March 29, the outlet reported that their reporters were detained, handcuffed, and asked if they were “Jews” or “Jews media.”
The employees of Rebel News were present at a peaceful anti-lockdown protest. A fine of more than $10,000 was still imposed on them despite the legal approval of non-lockdown requirements for journalists.
Something’s deeply wrong with Montreal’s @SPVM police. They arrest, handcuff & ticket our reporters, asking if we’re “Jews” or “Jew media”. They gave us $10,000+ in fines even though reporters are legally exempt from lockdowns. Please help us fight back at https://t.co/roDg8jvAa1 pic.twitter.com/GPqTQAGr2f
— Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) March 28, 2021
On April 4, the outlet’s reporter Mocha Bezirgan was threatened with jail time when the police confronted him while he was still keeping a distance from the demonstrators at Quebec city and asked for mask-mandate compliance. That day he was given the sixth ticket for $1,550.
Police in Quebec City at the lockdown rally orders me to wear a mask, even though I’m across the street from the demonstration. I refused and got my 6th $1550 ticket today. I was told that if they see me without a mask again, they would take me to jail. https://t.co/nR2Ow1VfjH pic.twitter.com/O1a5cqVbSP
— Mocha Bezirgan (@BezirganMocha) April 5, 2021