Montréal (Canada): Let them eat paint! De-gentrification action against “3734”

Just over a year ago, a masked crowd looted the yuppie grocery store attached to the “3734” restaurant on Notre-Dame street and redistributed the food to people in the neighborhood, one of dozens of actions against gentrification in recent years. The grocery store shut down several months ago, but we noticed that the 3734 restaurant was still serving business lunches and expensive dinners to local yuppies. So last Wednesday night we paid them a visit, breaking a window and covering the inside of the restaurant with paint, using a fire extinguisher. [Read More]

Balade in Saint-Henri loots expensive grocery store

From Montreal Counter-Info

A balade for de-gentrification took to the streets of Saint-Henri on the evening of May 28, 2016. About 30 people, all in black bloc, strolled down rue Notre-Dame and looted the yuppie boutique grocery store “Le 3734”. As most of the crowd held down the street outside the store, a few people went inside and filled duffel bags with fresh and dry sausages, cheese, maple syrup, and other items. Meanwhile, the storefront was redecorated with graffiti reading ‘Fuck Empire’ and wheatpasted posters that communicated some of the intentions behind the action. After throwing smoke bombs ahead of and behind the crowd on Notre-Dame, people dispersed via the train tracks before police could arrive, and no arrests have been made. In the days that followed, we re-distributed the food to people in the neighborhood who wouldn’t regularly have had access to it. The poster left behind read as follows:

With the arrival of the condos in Saint-Henri, a multitude of expensive businesses, hipster restaurants, and bourgeois grocery stores followed. Nevertheless, despite this affluence of food, the neighborhood remains practically a food desert for people with little money. Such a paradox it is to live in a world that produces so much food, but that isn’t accessible for those who are hungry!

May 28th, we tried to recalibrate things a bit, to the extent of our means. We put on masks to protect our identity, we entered one of these extravagant businesses, we took everything we could and we left to redistribute the goods joyously in the neighborhood. Inspired by the recent actions against the police in different neighborhoods and knowing that they were going to show up to protect the property owners, we brought what we needed to protect ourselves.

Everyone deserves to eat well and there is enough food for everyone! It is with great pleasure that we organized this pillaging, which is a slap in the face to the forces that impoverish and starve us. We invite everyone to do the same!

Long live de-gentrication!

Tonight is the great banquet, we celebrate complicity and abundance!


Montreal (Canada): vandalism against gentrification

For several years, the St. Henri neighbourhood has been undergoing many changes: a walk along any part of rue Notre Dame will bring you face to face with the new foodie restaurants, high-end boutiques, art galleries, and “drinkeries” catering to the residents of all the canal-side condos, replacing the dollar stores and flea markets.

Although gentrification of a neighbourhood is more than just new businesses and nice-looking storefronts, we decided to render some of our disgust with gentrification by vandalizing two such examples with fire extinguishers filled with paint. [Read More]

Montreal (Canada): Support demo for those evicted from the Moreau lofts


Monday September 9th, at 6 pm, Metro Prefontaine

On the morning of Friday, Sept 6th, the people occupying the lot next to the Moreau lofts were evicted by the Montreal police, acting on the landlord`s request. The lot, also belonging to the same landlord, was squatted to denounce the eviction of the hundred or so people living in the lofts of 2019 Moreau street. The city had ordered the eviction after safety inspectors judged the building to be dangerous for its occupants.

The building has been unsafe for twenty years while the landlord has allowed the situation to deteriorate. But now that the neighborhood is becoming hip and its no longer just poor people living in it, the situation has changed. That`s why the landlord announced that, after the eviction of the renters, he had the intention to renovate the lofts and to put them up for rent, but this time much more expensive. [Read More]

Montréal, Canada: Police violence and retaliation

Since the last February14th, a vast strike movement is shaking the post-secondary studies sector (colleges and universities) in the province of Québec. This general strike movement, mostly lead by a left-wing coalition of student unions – the CLASSE (French acronym for Broad Coalition of the Association for Student Syndicalist Solidarity) – has set itself, as an immediate objective, the cancellation of the recent 25% tuition fees raise implemented by the neoliberal government of Québec, the second such raise in 4 years, after more than 15 years of tuition fee freezing. The movement is now 125,000 striking students strong and many strike votes will be held in the coming weeks by student assemblies. Many massive street demos gathering thousands of people, as well as blockade actions have been organized, triggering more and more police repression.
[Read More]

Update from Montreals Tent City: Riot police evict Tent City; several reported arrests

MONTREAL, July 6, 2003 (2:57am) Riot police evicted hundreds of participants at Montreals Tent City inside Parc Lafontaine shortly after 12:30am this morning. At least 40 riot police were already placed inside the large park, and using floodlights in the dark, they proceeded to push back Tent City participants with shields and batons. Many people scrambled to gather their belongings, including their tents and tarps, while others maintained a line in front of the riot police, chanting defiant slogans in defence of the Tent City. At least four people were arrested inside the park. According to one legal team member, at least 12 people were arrested in total.

In one reported incident, two members of an activist video collective were arrested as they intervened as police attempted to arrest a mother sleeping in a car with her sleeping young child.

[Read More]

March 15, 2003 – Seventh International Day Against Police Brutality


  March 15, 2003 – Seventh International Day Against Police Brutality


March 15, 2003, marks the seventh year of this international day of protest and solidarity against police brutality. It first began in 1997 as an initiative of the Black Flag collective in Switzerland along with the help of ‘le Collective Opposé à la Brutalité Policière’ (COBP-Montreal).

Since its first year, the International Day Against Police Brutality (IDAPB) has been a success. This date was chosen because on March 15th, two children, aged 11 and 12, were beaten by the Swiss police.

This day is also an opportunity to create and strengthen an indispensable international solidarity against the ever-increasing collaboration amongst global police forces. The IDAPB is one step in ending the isolation of groups and individuals who, engaged in this struggle, are subjected to daily repression.

The police, the right arm of the State, abuse their power on a daily basis and exercise violence with total impunity. Within the police brotherhood, the complicity of silence eradicates the possibility of one police officer’s innocence. Everywhere they continuously violate the very laws that they are supposed to uphold. The police check I.D. without reason, ticket, harass, steal, spy, beat, deport, arrest, imprison, torture and kill. Their primary targets are “the undesirables of society”: the poor, the homeless, Indigenous peoples, people of colour, immigrants and persons with irregular status (“illegal immigrants” and people working under-the-table), sex workers, activists and student activists, the marginalised, organised workers, queer, gender-based and feminist activists and people who question and don’t accept the legitimacy of the authorities.

In response to the breadth and depth of anti-capitalist globalization demonstrations opposing the fortress of capitalism, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, the deepening of poverty, the generalised misery and deterioration of living conditions, governments invest in their police forces, in order to maintain, at whatever cost, law and order for ‘social peace’.

The reactionary security craze following the September 11 events in the U.S. gave free reign to world governments to create new fascist anti-terrorist and racist anti-immigration laws. Systematic surveillance of all means of communication, tougher border controls (if not their closure) and total discretionary powers to all police forces directly affect all “undesirables” (the ‘dangerous’ class).

Facing a global police state, we have the responsibility to act and support all victims of State force. We urgently invite you to participate in the International Day Against Police Brutality (IDAPB). Until now, this event has taken place in several forms: street theatre, murals, publications, demonstrations, conferences, postering, workshops, exhibitions, radio and television shows and other cultural events. Some groups have organised more than one activity while others have formed coalitions. All collectives or individuals decide on what type of action, depending on the political climate of their country, the energy and willingness of people to organise an event, the resources available, etc. The key thing is the imagination and the creativity of the people involved.


Some suggestions and needs:
* If you can’t organise for March 15th, try to organise as close to the date as possible.
* If you can’t or don’t want to participate, please spread and forward this message.
* We need more languages, so any translation of the message is very much appreciated. Could you please send the translations to the below email addresses, so that we can publish them on our websites.
* If you organise anything, can you please let us know, in order to strengthen solidarity and to be able to build a publication about this worldwide event.
* For questions, commentaries, or to find out more about COBP-Montréal and COPB-Vancouver please contact us and visit our websites.

Snail mail:
c/o The Alternative Bookshop
2035 St-Laurent, 2nd floor
Montreal, Quebec
H2X 2T3 E-mail: idapb2003 [at] yahoo [dot] ca Websites:
COBP-Montréal: COPB-Vancouver:

COBP-Montréal and COPB-Van


Nation-Wide Squatting Campaign Begins in Canada!

  Nation-Wide Squatting Campaign Begins in Canada!

On October 26, 2002, the cross-Canada “Give It Or Guard It!’ squatting campaign began. Called by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), hot on the heels of their success with the 4-month-old Pope Squat, and after squatting actions in Quebec City, Vancouver, Victoria, and the bulldozing of Toronto’s Tent City squatter camp, OCAP put out the call for a national squatting campaign. The idea is to force governments to either allow homeless people and squatters to take empty buildings, or to spend resources guarding them with lines of police.

Squatters in Halifax cracked open an enourmous empty hospital and barricaded themselves in on the 4th floor. Supporters outside blocked the front entrance to the building with their bodies. On the 27th, police raided the squat and arrested 7 people. A support demonstration outside the jail was held.

In Montreal the Anti-Capitalist Convergence Housing Committee held a march and guided tour of potential squats and chanted against the gentrification of their neighbourhood. The group occupied an old building that is slated to become a luxury condo, dropped a banner from one of its windows, and left the building without any arrests by police.

In the small town of Sudbury, Ontario, the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, and the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Common Front held a march for housing, put stickers on abandoned buildings, and briefly occupied an empty school, where they dropped a banner. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty faced-off against a huge police presence and police attacks on their demonstration in Toronto on October 26. Several potential squats were guarded by lines of police, and at several points bicycle cops and mounted policemen attacked the march, beating and clubbing people. There were 5 arrests for “breach of peace”. Towards the end of the march, OCAP members managed to crack open a building through its back doors, drop a banner from an upper-floor window, and escape through the front doors into the crowd as police broke in through the back to raid the building.

In Ottawa, the Ottawa Coalition Against the Tories held a demonstration and picket of a Home Depot business, in solidarity with the Toronto Tent City squatters who had been occupying Home Depot land in that city and were brutally evicted by Toronto police recently.

In Vancouver, the tent city outside the Woodwards building continued into its 42nd day, and the Anti-Poverty Committee released to the media the addresses of 6 buildings they intend to squat.

The movement continues to grow! Squat the lot!


Canada, Montreal, Media: Eight squatters arrested after reak-in at abandoned Montreal building


  Canada, Montreal, Media: Eight squatters arrested after reak-in at abandoned Montreal building


MONTREAL August 11, 2002 – (CP) – Eight squatters – with no place to live- were arrested Friday as they attempted to re-occupy an abandoned east-end building to protest a lack of affordable housing in Montreal. The city-owned Prefontaine Centre was the site of a similar protest last year, when a group of squatters was first invited and then thrown out by former mayor Pierre Bourque.

Montreal police arrested the latest group of protesters Friday evening, soon after the eight individuals jumped over a fence and climbed onto the roof of the building.

Several-dozen supporters cheered the squatters on from outside the fence.

The suspects face charges of breaking and entering, said Montreal police spokesman Yannick Ouimet.

“It appears there was some damage to the exterior of the building,” said Ouimet.

“We’re talking about a broken window and a broken-in door.

“They could be facing more charges but the investigation is still ongoing right now.”

Several-dozen squatters occupied the same building last summer with the consent of city officials.

They were evicted a month later after fire officials determined the brick structure was no longer safe because barricades blocking off an unstable section of the building had been dismantled.

Seven people were arrested for allegedly obstructing justice.

Affordable housing has become a hot-button issue in Montreal over the past 18 months.

The city’s rental vacancy rate is approaching zero and activists have pressed officials to set aside more apartments for low-income residents.

Jaggi Singh <jaggi [at] tao [dot] ca



Montréal (Canada): The Prefontaine & Overdale Squats – An analysis

(From the latest issue of Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed at:

The Préfontaine and Overdale Squats
An Analysis of Building Occupations in Montreal
by Michael William

I have mixed feelings about the Overdale and Préfontaine squats, which is no doubt the case with many people who squatted or who supported the squats. There were delightful moments and some real triumphs. But there were also many problems and disappointments. [Read More]

Canada, Fighting the Housing Crisis in Montreal – SQUAT!


  Canada, Fighting the Housing Crisis in Montreal – SQUAT!


Squat Opened July 3rd 2002 2109 Nicolet (metro Pie- IX) A squat was opened today in the Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhood of Montreal to take action against Montreal’s housing crisis. The squat located at 2109 Nicolet Street represents one of the hundreds of apartments and buildings which remain empty despite Montreal¹s housing crisis. The housing crisis which has put hundreds of families and individuals on the streets, is fueled by the intense gentrification of low-income neighborhoods and by political negligence on the part of the City of Montreal.

The Squat was opened mid-afternoon, after a demonstration organized by the community group, ADDS (the Association for the Defense of Social Rights), took to the streets denouncing the municipal, provincial and federal governments’ lack of action taken to address the housing crisis. The demonstration was small in comparison to last years’ Overdale squat action, but effective in getting across the urgency of the situation facing hundreds if not thousands in Montreal right now.

This action comes just a week after activists in Ottawa re-appropriated a building during the massive North-Eastern convergence against the G8 which took place June 26 & 27. As the Nicolet Street squat was opened today in Montreal, riot police in Ottawa brutalized, pepper sprayed and evicted squatters from the “7 Year Squat” opened during the “Take the Capital!” days of action in Ottawa.

Those involved with the Nicolet Street squat in Montreal have many ties to last years Overdale Squat action and have continued to fight against homelessness and gentrification throughout the year. Among those supporters present at the squat opening today, were a handful of people who remain dedicated to holding onto this piece of housing and are planning to stay the night. At this time people are occupying the apartment, cleaning and fixing up the newly re-appropriated residence.

The City of Montreal estimates that over 400 families have become homeless as of July 1st. This number only represents those documented by the city. There remain hundreds more who are not included in this estimate. The City of Montreal has provided some short-term residences for those without housing, but no long term solution. At this time there still remains many families & individuals on the street.

Last year the City of Montreal promised 5263 low income housing units and not one has been built. The City also stated that in the next five years, they would build 11,000 new units. As none of the low-income housing units that were promised have been built, the numbers of those finding themselves on the street are growing each day as the cities lack of action become ever apparent.

The spirit to fight against this housing crisis is alive and well in Montreal and today¹s action makes that clear. People are taking matters into their own hands and beginning to open the hundreds of buildings in Montreal which remain vacant while hundreds are on the streets. Come and show your support for the Nicolet Street Squat. Building supplies, food, furniture, money and support is needed.


stefan christoff <christoff [at] dojo [dot] tao [dot] ca>



Montreal: Housing Action Re-Appropriates Empty Downtown Building


  Montreal: Housing Action Re-Appropriates Empty Downtown Building


MONTREAL, July 28, 2001 (12:45am) — At least 100 people still remain at a squat action at a three-story historic building in downtown Montreal. At the time of this writing, squat participants are continuing to clean and re-decorate the newly re-appropriated building, located just south of Rene-Levesque Boulevard, on Overdale Street, near an upscale shopping and hotel district. Other supporters are participating in a rave party – with an outdoor sound system and portable generator — or enjoying the shared food and drinks in the large lot just outside the building. [NOTE: Background reports on “Montreal’s Housing Crisis”, “The Comité des sans-emploi”, “The Battle of Overdale (1987-89)” and “Housing, Gentrification and Public Space in Montreal”, will be posted in this space soon.]

MONTREAL, July 28, 2001 (12:45am) — At least 100 people still remain at a squat action at a three-story historic building in downtown Montreal. At the time of this writing, squat participants are continuing to clean and re-decorate the newly re-appropriated building, located just south of Rene-Levesque Boulevard, on Overdale Street, near an upscale shopping and hotel district. Other supporters are participating in a rave party – with an outdoor sound system and portable generator — or enjoying the shared food and drinks in the large lot just outside the building.

A small delegation of riot police had earlier threatened to disperse the squatters and their supporters, but they have not yet carried out their threats. During an impromptu outdoor assembly some hours after the squat began, at least 100 people raised their hands to indicate they intended to stay in the squat at least overnight. Many of the action participants are street youth, who were predominant among the many indicating their desire to stay.

The squat action, much anticipated for most of the post-Quebec City summer in Montreal, was organized by le Comité des sans-emploi (the Committee of the Unemployed), an anti-poverty group based in the low-income Centre-Sud neighborhood. The action began at Carré St-Louis (St-Louis Square), itself a symbol of Montreal’s rapid gentrification and attacks on the poor and marginalized [see the “Housing, Gentrification and Public Space” backgrounder, to be posted soon].

The late afternoon gathering brought together about 500 people, including several children. In addition to the Comité des sans-emploi, many local housing and activist groups lent their presence and support, including a social housing group representing several neighborhoods in southwest Montreal (St. Henri, Little Burgundy, Ville Emard, Côte St-Paul), FRAPRU (a province-wide housing rights coalition), student activists, and members of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC). There were also individuals from Quebec City, as well as a group from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) in Toronto — continuing the solidarity and mutual support between the Comité and OCAP that has existed for several years.

In what’s becoming a predictable pre-demo ritual in Montreal, three uniformed police officers attempted to speak to the demo leaders (no one claimed the role, although several pet dogs were offered). Groups like the Comité des sans-emploi refuse to obtain protest permits, or collaborate with the police, on principle, and assert their right to protest publicly without police or city permission.

Speaking over the constant heckling of the gathering crowd, one officer declared, “We need to know where you’re going to protect you”.

For many, the comment was particularly humorous, as police spokespersons had bragged earlier in La Presse (Montreal’s main French daily newspaper) that their sources had revealed where the squat would be (they allegedly pinpointed two potential options). As it turns out, the final location of the squat remained a well-kept secret right until the building in question was re-appropriated en masse, and without any police intervention.

The crowd soon took to the streets, marching south along St-Denis, and then west along Sherbrooke Street, right into the heart of downtown Montreal, past McGill University. The demo route — into downtown, rather than out into one of the neighborhoods — kept many demo participants speculating about where the eventual squat might be. As it turns out, the Comité had scouted several potential locations, just in case the police were ready at any particular place.

A large sound system pumped music (mainly French hip-hop and punk) to the crowd during the 30-minute march. The sound system and music was organized by the local “Association for the Liberation of Teckno (ALT)” — an anti-corporate collective of DJs and musicians who, along with the CLAC Cultural Committee, helped to organize the street parties at the anti-FTAA protests in Quebec City. Another Quebec City-affiliated affinity group, the Anarchist Marching Band, provided background drum and cymbal beats, and at one particular point, were accompanied by consecutive sequences of accidental car alarms.

The demo stopped symbolically just outside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which prompted the concierges to lock the doors as bemused and concerned hotel guests peeked outside at the rabble. It was at the Ritz, and it’s nearby district of galleries and posh shops, that a few demonstrators began to spray-paint slogans and symbols on various stores (including the Galerie Claude Lafitte, and a Ralph Lauren/Polo window display). There was some pushing and shoving between protesters and a security guard.

[Some of the French graffiti was written with English speakers in mind; for example, “Fuck les riche$$$!”]

The demo eventually turned south on Mackay Street, and past an empty lot that was the site of an apartment block whose tenants were suddenly and summarily evicted just last October, and which was recently razed [for more info, consult the “Housing, Gentrification and Public Space” backgrounder to be posted soon]. Another potential squat, an empty theatre at the corner of Mackay and Ste-Catherine, owned by Concordia University, was also passed.

As the demo reached Mackay and Rene-Levesque, the target was announced, and many started running towards an abandoned and boarded three-story building on Overdale Street, between Mackay and Lucien L’Allier (near the métro on the orange line). The building is at the end of a downtown parking lot, within site of the Molson Center hockey arena, and the Sheraton Center Hotel (the site of many mass demos in recent history, including last October’s G-20 protest), and just down the street from the Youth Hostel.

At the new squat, several people started ripping off the wooden boarding, while other tools – ladders, hammers, crowbars – were revealed and used to enter and secure the space. Very quickly, as hundreds gathered around, the building was occupied, and many began to attach banners, placards, as well as spray-paint slogans and images, onto the re-appropriated building. A sign over the main entrance read: “Housing is not a luxury; it’s a right!” One small group arrived with plants to decorate the new home.

Two local groups, Food Not Bombs and the People’s Potato, organized an outdoor kitchen, and a collective meal was soon prepared, including lots of boiled corn-on-the-cob (which was husked on the spot). Across the street, residents of neighboring condos observed the scene with surprise. Some expressed mild hostility at the incursion, while others actually offered utensils and water. One resident, quoted in La Presse, sympathized with the need for social housing.

During the demo and squat opening, there was a constant police presence, but at a distance. There were several police vans nearby, as well as uniformed bike cops, but compared to other similar protests, the police intervention was low-key. Many speculated that the police were caught by surprise by the location of the squat, and were also preoccupied with a busy, summer Friday night in the city, which includes the open-air Francofolies Festival. The late-night news has reported one arrest, but none was observed at the squat itself.

Several older activists recalled the significance of the Overdale Street location. In the late 1980s, it was the sight of a major, years-long mobilization to protect a block of housing in what came to be known as the Battle of Overdale (see the “Battle of Overdale (1987-89) backgrounder, to be posted soon).

In the end, Overdale residents were forcibly evicted and the housing was razed to become what is basically an overpriced parking for hockey games. The only remaining building of the original block, which is now squatted, survived only because of its historical significance.

[The building was the family home of Louis Hippolyte Lafontaine, a pre-Confederation politician and lawyer. In the accounts of mainstream history, Lafontaine — along with Robert Baldwin — ushered in the area of “responsible” government for white men in colonial Canada.]

The squat organizers were speculating that their newly acquired building, as a historically significant if neglected and empty structure, is probably owned by Heritage Canada, making the Government of Canada the “legal landlord”.

As it stands, the squatters continue to organize themselves for the weekend, and are encouraging supporters to maintain a constant presence to discourage a police eviction or attack, and in support of cheap, affordable housing in Montreal.

– written and reported by Jaggi Singh <jaggi [at] tao [dot] ca>, for Indymedia Montreal and the Quebec Alternative Media Center (CMAQ)

– for updates and photos, please check the Montreal Indymedia webpage at

Background reports on “Montreal’s Housing Crisis”, “The Comité des sans-emploi”, “The Battle of Overdale (1987-89)” and “Housing, Gentrification and Public Space in Montreal”, will be posted in this space soon.

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