January 28, 2014 11:29 pm
Updated: January 28, 2014 11:43 pm

Video of homeless man beaten in Montreal metro depicts reality for many


MONTREAL – A video of a homeless man being beaten in the Atwater metro station has been making the rounds on social media, shocking many – except those for whom that life is a reality.

The incident shows the victim being punched by another homeless man. A woman then joins the fight, kicking the man in the head and hitting him with a wooden plank.

Several people are seen passing right by the fight. But nobody called 9-1-1.

Constable Simon Delorme said police were able to locate the victim. He has recovered from the fight and has decided not to press charges.

The video, shot by a bystander, is seen as just one reminder of how insensitive Montrealers are becoming to homeless people in metro stations.

At this time of year, when the mercury plummets, the metro is often an easy and warm shelter for those with nowhere else to go.

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Montreal police told Global News they try to be more lenient with the homeless in the winter; that’s why metro stations are particularly full of homeless people.

Many of the homeless women Global spoke to said they do not feel safe in the metros.

Eva Uyarak admitted she’s been beaten up a few times before.

Still, she spends most of her time near Atwater metro and sometimes even spends the night when she has nowhere else to go.

“They touch you sometimes inappropriately when you’re sleeping,” she said.

“You know, it’s not safe.”

She explained that the homeless tend to get rowdy at night, starting fights when they’re drunk and trying to steal from each other.

Holly Gauld wasn’t surprised when she heard a violent fight broke out between three homeless people last week.

It’s the main reason she stopped coming to this area for shelter.

“Sometimes I feel safe. Other times I don’t,” she said.

“A lot of the native people and homeless drink a lot around here and you never know if you’ll be at the wrong place at the wrong time. You can be walking and get slapped in the face.”

The Old Brewery Mission is trying to help. They recently started a shuttle service from busy metro stations to the shelter to help make sure everyone has a warm bed to sleep in.

“We go there at closing time when the metro closes down and we will take people who have been staying in the metro and bring them to the shelter,”said Director General Matthew Piearce.

But getting them to a shelter is not always easy. Many would rather take their chances in the metro tunnels, no matter how vulnerable they feel.

Eva Uyarak says when she runs into trouble she simply moves to a different location.

“I try to stay outside this area and I go somewhere safer to drink.”

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