Brutal police eviction of community squatters at Montreal's Autonomous Social Centre

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martin dufresne
Brutal police eviction of community squatters at Montreal's Autonomous Social Centre

On May 29th 100  people occupied a defunct manufacturing building.

On May 30th  They were evicted
http://www.facebook.com/l/;http://www.centresocialautogere.org/en

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BRUTAL EVICTION AT THE AUTONOMOUS SOCIAL CENTER? the riot squad pepper sprays the squatters.

4 pm, May 30th, 2009 - Riot squads brutally evicted the people occupying a building at the corner of St-Patrick and Atwater this afternoon. Yesterday night, about a hundred people took this building in order to set up the Autonomous social center in a permanent space. At the present time, everyone who was inside has managed to exit the building and to join the support demonstration. The demo, a few hundred people strong, has now taken to the streets.

Towards 3 pm, the police promised they would talk to the Social center's "diplomats" before intervening. At the set meeting time, the police rushed towards the fence that surrounds the building's backyard instead. At the time, a few dozens of people, including a few families with children, were enjoying the sun and playing music, talking and eating. The police broke the fence's locker and rushed towards the building's entrance gate while reading the first eviction notice received by the squatters.

The people who were inside managed to close and barricade the door. After a few tries, the police was successful in breaking the barricade open. They surrounded the building, set up "snipers" on the roof and projected pepper spray through the windows (which they then immediately closed). The people inside managed to contain the toxic chemicals in only one part of the building. In an emergency general meeting, they decided to try to leave the space. Many people managed to exit and were greeted with warmth by the support demonstration. Another wave of activists then entered the building to keep defending it.

The police intervention then intensified, and they finally decided to exit on Saint-Patrick St and to join the support demonstration. Everyone managed to exit the building with their belongings and almost all of the equipment.

We have learnt that the police forces are trying to justify their illegitimate actions through the media. They claim that we have used fire extinguishers in order to defend ourselves against them and that they therefore had no choice but to intervene. This allegation is false. It's the police who attacked the Social Center and not the opposite. This excessive use of force is proof that we live in an authoritarian society that does not tolerate dissidence and that seeks to suppress any project that puts the foundations of this system into question.

The Social Center project continues. The struggle continues. We will not be squashed by what has happened today. On the contrary: our will to put into practice our dreams for a society free of authoritarian relationships, based on principles of autonomy, mutual aid and respect, is only reinforced. Long live the Autonomous social center! To know what's next, visit our website? http://www.facebook.com/l/;www.centresocialautogere.org

-30-

The organisers of this project are not giving up

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