EXCLUSIVE: Increased police presence in the Gay Village starting this weekend

Partygoers in the Gay Village will be seeing many more police officers when leaving bars on weekends.

Montreal police confirmed they have increased their presence on Sainte-Catherine street following a rash of violent incidents at or around closing time at bars.

Police spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron says the goal is to prevent potential troublemakers from striking.

"We're going to be there for visibility, to make sure people see police officers. That [should calm] people that are a little bit excited or drunk and looking for trouble."

He added that more patrollers usually means fewer altercations.

"There are a lot of bars [in the area] and a couple of incidents occured in the last couple of weeks," he explained to CJAD.
Basically, [this measure] is to prevent any event that could occur as bars are closing, such as fights."

As of now, the extra security measure is slated to remain indefinitely, but the police will reassess the situation over the next few weeks.

Sigh of relief

For members of the LGBTQ community, the added security couldn't have come at a better time.

Louis-Alain Robitaille, founder of a Facebook page called “Le Collectif Carré Rose” dedicated to defending LGBTQ rights, says residents of the area didn't feel safe anymore.

"We're very happy about it. There's been a big increase of attacks in the Village recently [...] and we're gotten sick of it," Robitaille told CJAD.

"Last weekend alone, four people were attacked in the Village."

One such event occured on December 12th, when DJ Alain Jackinsky was attacked by five men and women leaving Sky Bar on Sainte-Catherine Street. His roommate was also beaten when he tried to help.

Robitaille thinks the added security, which he says is insured by 15 additional police officers, will act as a deterrant.

"A lot of people who walked in the Village yesterday wrote to me and said they could really feel the difference already last night."

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