Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Mayor and Police Chief Apologize for Past Anti-LGBTQ Raids and Arrests

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Montreal Mayor and Police Chief Apologize for Past Anti-LGBTQ Raids and Arrests

Article excerpt

Montreal mayor sorry for LGBTQ bar raids

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MONTREAL - Puelo Deir, one of the grand marshals in this year's Pride Parade in Montreal, was at city hall Friday and said he had no idea the mayor and police chief were going to apologize to the LGBTQ community.

"I thought: Oh. My. Gay!" Deir said in reaction to Mayor Denis Coderre's formal apology on behalf of the city for institutional discrimination toward the community.

But behind the jokes are dark memories of a time in Montreal when armed police used to force their way into gay bars, he said.

"Not only did the police show up with machine-guns and cameras, but they took photos of people, which ended up in the newspapers," Deir said. "It destroyed lives."

Coderre said "we have a tainted past and the best way to cure it is to recognize it and the best way to reconcile is to recognize what happened."

"There were some bad moments with the police force and the city administration and I would like to, on behalf of the municipal administration of the City of Montreal, offer my apology."

Police Chief Philippe Pichet said, on behalf of the force, he "regrets the events that were produced during police raids on gay bars during the 1960s to the 1990s. The actions attacked the dignity of the people concerned."

Deir, who co-founded a popular series of annual gay events in the city, said police raids on gay bars during that period were regular. …

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