Demonstrators protest hip hop ban on Pointe-Claire bar
Published Wednesday, April 4, 2012 10:14AM EDT
MONTREAL - A concert was held in protest outside of the Montreal courthouse on Tuesday by people angry about a ban on hip hop music at a Pointe-Claire bar.
The Pioneer bar, on Lakeshore Rd., had its alcohol permit reinstated last month only after the owner agreed not to hold any more hip hop concerts at the venue.
"I think any injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, like Martin Luther King said," activist Will Prosper told CTV News.
The bar was denied the permit after booking a hip hop band because the owner said police felt the show would attract street gangs.
Police alerted the Regie d'alcohol, and it denied the bar a liquor license.
Protesters outside the courthouse Tuesday said that was playing into broad stereotypes.
"We could do the same with rock music. We could say the Hells Angels listen to rock music, so let's ban rock music everywhere," said Prosper.
Diane Marois repurchased the Pioneer in December and was operating with a temporary alcohol permit. She said she was forced to sign an agreement with the Regie to not hold any more hip hop shows if she wanted to receive a permanent liquor license.
The Regie said it was a police requirement. Police, however, deny it.
"It's not for us to decide what kind of music people should or shouldn't listen to," said Montreal police Commander Antonio Iannatuoni.
Protesters Tuesday said they didn't believe it, and that both the Regie and the police discriminated against the music.
"When they discriminate against an entire culture, they are completely denying the beautiful things that this culture has brought," said one activist.
And though the Pioneer has silenced all hip hop shows, the group of activists said they won't quiet down.
"Artists are the voice of the population and since we are segregating a whole culture, we are just removing the voice of people," said an activist.