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This Montreal Festival Will Have Free Food, Comedy, DJ Sets & A Totally New Take on Authority

Defund la Police Festival advocates for exactly that, and more.

A police officer on a motorcycle surveys a crowd.

A police officer on a motorcycle surveys a crowd.

When someone says they want to defund the police, the first question skeptics usually ask is, "How will we keep each other safe?" A festival based in Montreal aims to promote answers to that question, with an educational celebration of community-based alternatives to policing.

Oh, and there will be free food, comedy shows, DJ sets and interactive workshops as well, so don't worry about getting bored by the nitty-gritty of it all. Defund la Police Festival is dedicated to defunding the police, but not just that: it's also about investing in communities and promoting solidarity between Montrealers.

In a city where police funding increases year over year and overspending is common in the Montreal police force (known by its French initials, SPVM), Defund la Police Festival looks toward a future in which that money is invested in communities themselves, promoting the wellbeing of Montrealers rather than funding what some say is a militarized police force known for its brutality.

So what does a safe, engaged community look like? For the people who organized the upcoming festival, it looks like free education in the form of workshops as well as free fun in the form of comedy performances, food, activities for children, music and art.

Food will be provided for free by Concordia's The People's Potato, a service that offers free and by-donation meals to students and others in the downtown area.

While you enjoy their vegan fare, you can learn about critiques of standard police practices like street checks as well as the over-surveillance of migrants and the criminalization of drugs. If you're not well-versed in these areas already, visiting the festival can give you a better understanding of how each issue operates and what alternatives we might have as Montrealers.

Defund la Police Festival

When: September 17, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Parc Vinet, 550 rue Vinet, Montreal

Cost: Free entry

Why you should go: To learn more about community survival beyond policing, attend workshops and enjoy free food and art exhibits.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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