After last summer’s failed attempt to crush the city’s afterhours nightclubs, the city of Montreal and the police department are now targeting the city’s original legal afterhours event, Montreal’s famed Black & Blue circuit party.
BBCM head honcho Robert Vezina told Hour this week that his non-profit organization will foot $25,000 worth of double-time police charges so cops can stand around while his security team searches Black & Blue partygoers for drugs. Worse, at press time, police said they would also search women’s brassieres and men’s underwear.
"We were the first afterhours event to be approved by the city and police back in 1991," Vezina rants. "We have always met with police to see what is acceptable behaviour. We kick out all drug dealers. No bags, no coats. The ground rules were developed in partnership with the police.
"Then three years ago police had a new way of doing things and if we didn’t agree, they would deny all permit requests. They imposed the rules unilaterally: Every single person must be searched. They also had undercover cops. They said we had to foot the bills and we did. Now they want us to pay for 10 to15 uniformed officers standing at the door doing nothing while our security team does all the work."
Vezina contrasts that with the 50,000 people who attended last summer’s outdoor Metallica concert. "There were no searches. There was alcohol on-site. It was a huge mess. Police were not present except for basic services. So why are they concentrating on a gay fundraising event with just 12,000 people? It’s all out of proportion."
At press time Vezina was appealing to the Quebec minister of public security and was filing a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. Vezina says city councillor Peter Yeomans, who oversees the police department, told him three times there is nothing he can do.
"The cops want to make a public splash to show they’re fighting drugs but they’re targeting the wrong event," Vezina says. "Basically they’ve told us, ‘Fuck you.’"
Black & Blue at the Olympic Stadium, Oct. 12