SQ helicopter in Montreal | An operation to “find a certain tranquility” near the parks

If the deployment of a low-flying Sûreté du Québec helicopter “caused inconvenience” to several Montrealers on Friday evening, the operation aims, however, to allow them to regain a “certain tranquility”, was justified on Saturday. City of Montreal.

Posted on June 5, 2021 at 1:33 p.m.

Henri Ouellette-Vézina

“Of course, the use of the helicopter caused inconvenience, but the intervention also aims to allow the residents of the parks to find a certain peace of mind. Let us all continue to show civility in this period of deconfinement ”, replied in writing Geneviève Jutras, the press secretary of the mayor Valérie Plante, when questioned by Press.

The City specifies that the police presence will be “increased” this weekend “to avoid overflows”, among others in the parks, where several gatherings were held recently. The lifting of the curfew has also been marked by overflows in certain sectors of the metropolis, especially in Old Montreal, in recent days.

On Friday, several residents said they were disturbed by the noise and the presence of the helicopter, borrowed from the Sûreté du Québec, that the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) said to use to “give themselves visibility” on the territory. At the end of the evening, the aircraft flew over Jeanne-Mance Park, on the Plateau-Mont-Royal, before heading towards La Fontaine Park. Several noted on social media that the noise was loud in nearby residential areas.

On Twitter, Internet users also deplored the “surreal” or “ridiculous” nature of the helicopter’s presence, judging the strategy to be abusive in the circumstances. “It woke up the whole Plateau,” one of them notably quipped.

At the SPVM, spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron confirms that the presence of the helicopter “is still planned for the rest of the weekend”. “We cannot guarantee its presence, but it is possible that it will be brought out if the need arises”, he maintains, adding that the police force has all the same “taken note of the complaints of the citizens” who were made in the last few hours. “For us, it remains a tool that facilitates the work if we need to verify certain elements across the territory, especially in the parks,” said Mr. Bergeron, however, without going any further.

No “surprise”, claims the Opposition

In the ranks of the Official Opposition, the deputy leader of Ensemble Montreal, Francesco Miele, maintained Saturday that “the violence and the excesses of the last weeks in the parks and in the streets of Montreal are worrying”.

That said, “the laissez-faire of the current administration is not an option,” he said. “The mayoress must assume her responsibilities and recommend temporary measures so that the citizens of Montreal find their peace of mind, and above all, she must explain them to the population. The population cannot be taken by surprise like last night, ”insists this advisor to the team of the candidate for mayor, Denis Coderre.

On Friday, the latter also backed down on the ban on alcohol consumption in parks after 8 p.m., which he had first advocated two days before. “For me, 8 p.m. is not important. For me, it is safety that is important, he said. There is no question of being a broken of parties, […] but there is a situation, there are overflows. ”

Ultimately, the SPVM must be better equipped to enforce the law, believes Mr. Coderre, for whom the current regulations – which allow the consumption of alcohol in most parks with a meal – are sufficient, but must be applied more vigor.

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