Authorities dismantle camp set up in Parc des Faubourgs in Montreal

Authorities dismantle camp set up in Parc des Faubourgs in Montreal
Authorities dismantle camp set up in Parc des Faubourgs in Montreal

Municipal authorities on Friday dismantled a camp set up in Parc des Faubourgs, near the Jacques-Cartier Bridge in Montreal. The campers had been there since March 1is July precisely to request a moratorium on the dismantling of homeless camps by the City.

Under the gaze of dozens of police officers and displaced activists, municipal employees proceeded in the afternoon to clean the site which contained around ten tents.

While the dismantling has sparked some spats between police and activists, no major incidents or arrests have been reported, according to the Montreal Police Department. One person has been taken into care by social services for relocation.

However, bitterness was palpable among the activists we met.

“What we were asking is that at least, while we are experiencing a housing crisis and some people who have no other alternative than to build a makeshift shelter, we grant a moratorium on dismantling. For people who have no other place to go, repeated dismantling becomes a form of harassment,” said Anick Desrosiers, social worker.

“No one was here for fun. If there were more places in shelters or apartments, we would be happy. But everything is full. The only concern of the City is that [l’itinérance] “It doesn’t look too out of place. There are camps everywhere, along bike paths, near parks. But when people get together and start organizing, it’s no longer tolerated,” said Marine Gourit, a housing rights activist at the BAILS committee.

Earlier Friday, the City of Montreal also dismantled the pro-Palestinian camp set up at Square-Victoria since June 22, citing a municipal by-law on the occupation of public property.

At a press conference, Mayor Valérie Plante justified the intervention by stating that “public space must remain public.” “We cannot accept, as a society, that the streets become an open-air hospital or an open-air housing,” she said.

Campers at Parc des Faubourgs believe they were victims of the same desire on the part of the City.

“We are in solidarity with the other camps. Even if it is not the same cause in appearance, we share the same fundamental objectives: life, security, dignity, peace. I find it very gloomy as a social atmosphere and very dangerous to use repressive measures like [les démantèlements]”, given that there are more and more people who are becoming poorer and who will not have access to housing and property,” said Léandre, one of the camp organizers, who preferred not to give his last name.

“We can no longer just go towards repression. Other camps will be reborn elsewhere. This cannot be a solution,” mentioned Annie Lapalme of Entraide logement Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

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