NEWS

St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers worry about clash with protest

03/10/2015 10:32 EDT | Updated 05/10/2015 05:59 EDT
An anti-police brutality group is planning to hold a demonstration in downtown Montreal Sunday, March 22 — at nearly the same time and place as the 192nd St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

On its website, the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) has posted invitations to an event called “St-Patrak” — which rhymes with "matraque," the French word for a police officer's club.  

"I don’t know what their full intentions are having this demonstration the same day, but it would be very disappointing if it didn’t turn out so well," said parade spokesman Kevin Murphy.

The protest meeting point is set for 1:30 p.m. at Norman Bethune Square, at the corner of de Maisonneuve Boulevard West and Guy Street.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts at noon just a few blocks away on du Fort Street and runs west along Sainte-Catherine Street to Phillips Square.

The COBP also encourages protesters to dress in green, the traditional St. Patrick's Day colour.

"We’re disappointed that they’re planning it for the same day as our parade and focusing on our parade as a meeting point for their demonstration," said Murphy. "We are a non-political event and we are very family oriented with thousands and thousands of families who line the street to come out and celebrate with us." 

St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers say they have not had any in-depth discussions with police. 

"We were told that this event was going to be happening — no more than that," said Murphy. "The police have not given us any advice or instructed us in any way."

The COBP's website says their 19th annual demonstration against police brutality is also planned for Sunday, March 15.

COBP police clashes

Past COBP events have frequently ended in clashes with police.

On March 15, 2014, 288 people were arrested during the event.

A year earlier, 150 people were arrested.

In 2012, the number was 226, while in 2011, it was over 300.

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