Demonstrators walk down Atwater Ave. during a rally to oppose Bill 96 in Montreal on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Political satire group Bowser and Blue sang a song about English speakers being second-class citizens and several thousand took to the streets of downtown Montreal to protest against a proposed law that aims to bolster the status of the French language in the province.

Quebec’s anglophone community rarely protests in the streets against government policy. However, many who came out Saturday said while they are in favour of protecting the French language and culture in Quebec, Bill 96 — which is expected to come to a vote in the National Assembly at the end of the month — would have disastrous consequences in education, language and health-care sectors.

The law would give increased powers to the Office québécois de la langue française, the province’s language watchdog, such as search and seizure without a warrant. It would also restrict service in English in health-care institutions and the courts.

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