Protesting squatters evicted from vacant lot in Montreal
MONTREAL – Several dozen squatters that took over a vacant lot in St. Henri have been evicted.
The protesters were occupying the lot to protest how gentrification and condo development are affecting the local community.
Squatting essentially means to occupy abandoned land or property without lawful permission. It’s a form of protest that has been used in Canada and around the world to raise awareness about land issues.
The Montreal squatters are concerned about condo development in the area, which may drive out families that can no longer afford to stay.
“Poor people in Montreal are fed up.”
As the tents came down and the couches were moved off the lot, an activist for social housing spoke to the media.
“Poor people in Montreal are fed up,” said community organizer Fred Burrill. “We need at least 55,000 units in Quebec over the next five years to make the slightest of difference to the overwhelming need.”
“This is only the start of many actions. There is a strong movement in Montreal against the gentrification of the city. The city belongs to all of us . . . it doesn’t belong to condo developers, to elected officals or to bureaucrats. It belongs to us.”
The owner of the vacant lot, local businessman Peter Sergakis, told Global News that he has asked police on Wednesday to intervene and evict the protesters.
He said he was prompted to contact police after local residents called to complain.
“I let them pass the message,” he said. “We’re in a democratic country, but I think enough is enough.”
© 2013 Shaw Media