More than 2,000 police officers protest as Montreal celebrates its 375th anniversary
Housing activists, animal rights advocates also protest during Montreal's birthday bash
Wednesday evening's 375th anniversary festivities weren't so celebratory for some Montrealers, as protesters — including police officers — hit the streets to try to sour the party mood.
Loud group out here. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MANIFENCOURS?src=hash">#MANIFENCOURS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/375MTL?src=hash">#375MTL</a> <a href="https://t.co/u1EN4jvAso">pic.twitter.com/u1EN4jvAso</a>—@sarahleavittcbc
They played loud music and honked horns, before marching off to City Hall in Old Montreal.
Officers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2014.
A whole lot of police out there. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/manifencours?src=hash">#manifencours</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/375Mtl?src=hash">#375Mtl</a> <a href="https://t.co/zG6dO9lo1x">pic.twitter.com/zG6dO9lo1x</a>—@sarahleavittcbc
The police officers' union paid for giant billboard ads of Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre wearing a party hat, with the sarcastic phrase, "A mayor who shows contempt for his police officers for three years must be celebrated."
No special treatment, police say
Montreal police said they would treat Wednesday night's police protest like any other demonstration.
In 2014, the Montreal police department was criticized for failing to properly intervene during a protest by municipal workers at city hall.
Hundreds of municipal workers stormed the building and trashed council chambers. No one was arrested.
But Chief Inspector Alain Gagnon said the protesting officers would receive "no special treatment."
Gagnon said the police brotherhood informed the SPVM of its march itinerary and dismissed concerns that protesting police officers would be indistinguishable from on-duty officers.
Not everyone wants to party
In addition to protesting police officers, a number of other demonstrations were also planned to coincide with Montreal's 375th birthday celebrations.
Affordable housing activists took to the streets Wednesday morning.
Another protest targeted the city bylaws dealing with horse-drawn calèches, pit bull-type dogs and other animal control issues.
Firefighters, who had also been without a contract since 2014, reached a tentative agreement Wednesday, so they won't be protesting.
The union representing 2,400 firefighters confirmed the deal.
With files from CBC's Ainslie MacLellan, Sarah Leavitt