April 22, 2014 5:52 pm

Montreal police warn Habs fans to avoid illegal demonstrations

MONTREAL – After playoff and Stanley Cup riots in 1993, 2008 and 2010, Habs’ fans have developed a bit of a reputation for venting their feelings about hockey on the city of Montreal.

Montreal police are warning fans who are planning to be downtown for Tuesday night’s possible series-clinching game between the Canadiens and Tampa Bay that the riot squad will be out in force.

Thousands of fans watching the game at the Bell Centre or in one of many pubs or restaurants in the downtown core are expected to pour out into the streets after the match.

Police have advised that as an itinerary has not been shared, any demonstration on Tuesday night would be considered illegal.

Although authorities have refused to comment on the specific details of any operation they may have planned, police spokesperson Laurent Gingras told La Presse Canadienne that the controversial municipal bylaw P-6, which bans unlawful assembly, would be applied.

“People can’t demonstrate tonight because we will not have received a route ahead of time,” he noted.

“So they’ll be demonstrating illegally.”

Police – and taxpayers – are likely hoping to avoid millions of dollars in damages caused by large numbers of rioters in the streets, looting, flipping cars, breaking windows and setting things on fire should the Habs lose – or win.

“Our goal is to keep traffic circulation fluid and to keep the streets open,” said Gingras.

In a strong vote of confidence for the local team, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre announced that Ste. Catherine Street, a main thoroughfare that runs through downtown Montreal, would be completely closed to make way for preparations for the traditional parade of champions the afternoon of June 14.

The only Canadian team remaining in the NHL playoff series, the Montreal Canadiens, who are leading 3-0, will face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. ET at the Bell Centre.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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