Festivals are well-guarded against vehicular and other attacks
Published Friday, August 18, 2017 1:08PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 18, 2017 6:33PM EDT
A disturbing trend by terrorists to use vehicles as weapons in public places has forces police to rethink security measures.
Montreal police issued new security guidelines several months ago for festivals and public events.
Those security precautions will be in place this weekend at two large scale events in Montreal.
On Saturday, three orchestras will perform at the base of Mount Royal as a celebration of Montreal's 375th birthday.
There will be cement barriers and increased police personnel on site as well as other measures.
Police are taking steps to make it very difficult for any vehicle to approach the area: Park Ave. will be closed between Pine and Mount Royal Avenues as of noon Saturday.
Meanwhile on Sunday the annual Pride parade will march down René Levesque Blvd.
Pride organizer Jean-Sebastien Boudreault said that organizers tripled their security budget since last year.
Visitors should expect to see concrete barriers blocking many streets to prevent vehicles from approaching pedestrians, and many police on patrol.
"It's a lot of money, especially we are a non-profit, we're not there to make money, but when you plan ahead it's easier," said Boudreault. "If we were not ready and you told me something happened like Barcelona and we had to triple our security, I couldn't even do it. Now everything is attached, every dollar is spent."
Those arrangements planned in advance including budgeting for police officers, the installation of barriers, and coming up with evacuation routes should something happen.
Mayor Denis Coderre said the increased security measures shouldn't dampen celebrations.
“We need to raise our chin and keep smiling. The people who are in charge of safety are there. There's no way we're going to let any individual change our way of life,” he said.
Life has changed, however, for some smaller festival organizers.
The annual Hellenic Flame festival was cancelled due to the high costs of the new security measures.
“We felt as a community that it was too much to do in a short period of time, to install all the barriers and barricades needed for security at every intersection,” said Andy Crilis, VP of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal.