Montreal bans parades over tension with Hassidim

City officials in a Montreal borough have banned all street parades and processions in response to escalating tensions with the Hassidic community.

The episode is the latest dispute between the expanding Hassidic community and its mostly secular neighbors in Outremont, a central district in Montreal.

Outremont’s mayor and a majority of council members voted April 2 to ban parades and processions in the wake of a noisy confrontation last month on Purim with municipal lawmaker Céline Forget, known for her dogged surveillance of the Hassidic community.

The clash, which was taped and posted on YouTube, degenerated into shouting, name-calling and police intervention.

In response, Outremont decided that it would not allow a Hassidic sect to hold a street procession later this month to mark the visit of a rabbi from New York.

Mayer Feig, a spokesman for the Hassidic community, says members are considering a legal challenge.

Caught up in the controversy are members of a local Russian Orthodox church whose annual Easter parade, begun in 1964, also was canceled.

The freeze will remain in place until June 1, when the borough will review its policies. — jta