Punk rockers rioted in the streets of Montreal on Tuesday night when a show by the punk bands Total Chaos and the Exploited was canceled after members of the latter band were denied entry into the country by customs officials.
Le Medley co-owner Paul Matte, who was to host the concert, said he was informed at 7:15 p.m. that several members of the veteran, politically active British punk band the Exploited were denied entry into Canada for unspecified reasons. Concerned about a possible backlash from fans, he immediately called the Montreal Police Department for assistance. When at approximately 8 p.m. the venue’s staff informed the 800 ticket holders waiting outside that the show had been canceled, most of the crowd began to disperse. Within 15 minutes, though, Matte said between 50 and 100 fans went wild and began breaking windows and overturning cars. “They took everything they could get their hands on,” he said.
The 15 officers on the scene were quickly overwhelmed and requested that the riot squad come to quell the disturbance, according to Montreal Police Department spokesperson Luc Belhumeur. By 9 p.m., police in riot gear arrived and quickly blocked off several blocks around the hall, though rioters continued to break windows as they fled.
In all, eight cars were overturned and set on fire and rioters smashed the windows of more than 42 cars, including six police vehicles. In addition, nearly a dozen local businesses were vandalized or otherwise damaged, Belhumeur said.
At press time, seven rioters had been arrested on charges ranging from breaking and entering to criminal mischief and armed assault, with more arrests likely. Belhumeur said two security officers suffered minor injuries.
Matte said Le Medley — which hosts everything from metal to punk, disco to country shows in the heart of downtown Montreal — had not seen this kind of violence in the nine years it has been open. He said it was up to the insurance companies and police to decide if the club will be held liable for the damage.
The incident marks the second time in less than a month that the bands have experienced a show cancellation: On September 19 a show by Total Chaos and the Exploited was shut down by police at Wabash Hall in San Diego after the show’s promoter was arrested for not having the proper event permits.