2 arrested over anti-gentrification vandalism in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

2 arrested over anti-gentrification vandalism in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

Montreal Police stopped half a dozen people on the night of April 12 after they were caught illegally putting up posters promoting anti-gentrification activities, according to CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada.

Of the six people, two were formally arrested and ticketed under municipal regulations. The others were questioned and let go.

The posters were promoting an "Anti-Gentrification Festival" on May 6 and a "big masquerade against gentrification" on May 7, timed to coincide with the City of Montreal's Roundtable on Gentrification event taking place that same weekend.

This comes after another set of arrests that took place in December 2016. Two people arrested during that period are facing criminal charges of mischief against businesses.

An ongoing problem

The issue of anti-gentrification vandalism is not a new one in the neighbourhood. The traditionally low-income neighbourhood has seen an influx of new condos and trendy shops pop up in recent years.

In 2016, there were at least six "waves" of vandalism that targeted 22 businesses, some of which had their windows smashed in and had their interiors covered in paint.

​Some businesses in the area say they have been the target of vandalism on more than one occasion. A security camera video from January 2017 shows a masked vandal spray painting on the front window of a local bar.

Owner Stéphane Allard told CBC at the time that there was no doubt in his mind that the act was tied to an anti-gentrification group.

Borough Mayor Réal Ménard called for action in November after five businesses were targeted by vandals in one night. 

"Every week, efforts are continuing," said Montreal police Cmdr. Martial Mallette, the head of the local station. "It's a long-term job, but there are results right now. "