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Laval rock concert angers rights group

The Gazette
Aug. 15, 2003
CLARE DEMERSE, The Gazette • Saturday August 16, 2003

Bands alleged to be racist play at bar in event that’s been dubbed ‘Hatefest’

A Montreal minority-rights group is calling for an investigation into an apparently racist rock concert held Saturday night in Laval.

According to published reports, four white supremacist bands played at Laval’s Mad-Max bar in an event dubbed “Hatefest.” Laval police confirm that a concert took place, attended by about 125 to 150 fans.

But Lt. Pierre Chabot said police don’t plan to investigate the event, which he said looked quiet enough when a patrol car drove by.

That’s a mistake, said Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations. “(The police) seem to take this as a small, isolated incident. The worst thing the authorities can do is dismiss this as minor. Every year we hear about incidents like these, when there’s a small cell of either neo-Nazi skinheads or KKK in Montreal, or Laval, or the Eastern Townships,” Niemi said.

His group sent two open letters yesterday, calling on the Laval police and the Quebec Human Rights Commission to investigate the concert.

A manager at Mad-Max, who spoke on the condition that her name not be published, said she didn’t know what kind of show the bands planned to put on.

“I rent out the place, and people call and see if they can book a concert. It’s private parties on the weekends. They do what they want,” she said.

The two servers who worked that night said the bar was full of skinheads, the manager said.

“Now everyone thinks that I’m a racist and this is a skinhead bar, and it’s not. But I can’t do an inquiry about everyone who wants to put on a show here,” she said.

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