It prompted groups to drop out of the parade and likely made some families think twice about attending, but in the end a planned demonstration against perceived brutality set to coincide with Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was a non-issue for revellers.
Royal West Academy’s marching band and Scouts Canada decided to opt out of attending this year’s parade, citing safety concerns.
Protesters gathered at the corner of Guy St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd. just north of the parade route, and were vastly outnumbered by police and members of the media. The demonstration was largely peaceful, save for some taunts toward police.
A planned demonstration against perceived brutality set to coincide with Montreal’s St. Patrick’s Day parade was a non-issue for revellers. (Denise Roberts/CTV Montreal)
Police began issuing warnings to the group of roughly 20 people well before the scheduled start of their event, telling them not to commit any infractions or join the parade. Police also intercepted groups of people several streets over from the protest’s starting point and prevented them from getting to the gathering point.
“There have been a few groups that were trying to, let's say, join the parade. So yes there was a large police presence. We made sure that the parade went well, that nothing wrong happened during the parade. We saw a few interventions here and there but no one has been apprehended. It was really preventive,” said Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal police.
There were no arrests during the parade, only one afterward for public intoxication, Lafreniere said..
One demonstrator said the police’s tactics were excessive but they won't deter them from future protests.
“I'm not disappointed. Now we're 20 but next week we could be more, next year we could be more. We are 20 people who wanted to be heard,” he said.