Montreal police are advising people who might be downtown for tonight's potential series-clinching game between the Canadiens and the Tampa Bay Lightning that the P6 bylaw regulating demonstrations will be in force tonight for whatever spontaneous gatherings may happen in the downtown core.
"People can't demonstrate tonight, because we will not have received a route ahead of time," Montreal police spokesperson Laurent Gingras says. "Thus, they'll be demonstrating illegally. People will be subject to accusations."
The police force, as it usually does, did not provide any kind of detailed strategy for tonight, preferring to take a wait-and-see approach.
"Our objective is to maintain the traffic flow and keep streets open," Gingras says. "What we want to avoid, mainly, is that people gather in large numbers to party in the streets."
While street parties are customary after Habs' big playoff wins — unfortunately, so has rioting and looting, which is what Montreal police want to avoid. There were riots and looting in downtown Montreal following the Canadiens' last two Stanley Cup wins in 1986 and 1993, and after playoff wins in 2008 and 2010. The last one, following the Canadiens' second-round playoff win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, led to 25 arrests.