Montreal Pride tripled security budget this year
Organizers say this year's fest is bigger, prouder and required more security
Montreal Pride has tripled its security budget this year, in part to address heightened fears following several high-profile vehicle-ramming attacks, according to one of the festival organizers.
"We've seen what's been happening in the world in the last year so we had to increase security. Our festival this year is bigger, is prouder, the parade is longer," said Pride Montreal vice-president Jean-Sébastien Boudreault.
The news comes after a vehicle plowed into a crowd of people in the popular Las Ramblas district in Barcelona, killing 14 and injuring more than 100.
"We were already prepared. It's really sad what happened in Barcelona, but it's not something new," said Bouldrealt.
That attack was just a few days after a car rammed into a crowd of anti-racist counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Va. and killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will march in the Pride Parade with Ireland's openly-gay Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, adding to the need for higher security at this year's celebrations. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre will join them.
The parade starts at noon on Sunday. It runs along René-Lévesque Boulevard, starting at the corner of Drummond Street and heading east to the Alexandre-DeSève Street intersection.
Gay rights activist Stuart Milk, the nephew of legendary LGBTQ activist Harvey Milk, will be the parade grand marshal.
Pride Montreal has been working closely with the SPVM for months, said Boudreault, and they have been told police haven't detected any threats to the festival.
"There's nothing on the SPVM's radar," he said Friday afternoon.
Pride Montreal has increased the number of security guards, and Boudreault said there will be both plainclothes and uniformed security agents on site.
"We have about tripled the budget for security, making sure we have more agents, we have obstacles on the street," he said.
"A car could try to accelerate and hit one of our sites, so we can make sure to have physical obstacles there. We have more eyes in both parks."
Boudreault said the cost of security was in the "hundreds of thousands of dollars."
There were also be concrete barriers, and some locations will see 16-foot heavy trucks parked to block entrances to prevent vehicle attacks. Boudreault said trucks were chosen because they can be backed out if emergency responders need site access.
Boudreault said the group wanted the new security measures to be as invisible as possible so that festival goers could enjoy themselves.
With files from Michel Marsolais