Hamilton anarchist space, The Tower, has been vandalized

The city’s local anarchist social centre, The Tower, has been vandalized.

Vandalism comes after masked mob caused $100K in damage on Locke Street last weekend

Hamilton anarchist social space, The Tower, was vandalized in the wake of Saturday night's incident on Locke Street. (The Tower/Facebook)

The city's local anarchist social centre, The Tower, has been vandalized.

The damage comes days after a masked mob that dubbed itself "The Ungovernables" caused $100,000 in damage during a vandalism spree on Locke Street.

A person who answered the door at The Tower Wednesday morning declined to be interviewed, but said the building had been broken into overnight.

He said the door of the building on Cannon Street East near Victoria Avenue North had been smashed in. Nothing was taken, he said.

We have zero tears to shed for Locke St.- The Tower

In a message on the organization's Facebook page posted Wednesday morning, the group said "far-right goons" broke in and trashed The Tower's free community library. 

The group also broke its silence on Saturday's incident on Locke Street.

The Tower's front window was boarded up this week. (Adam Carter/CBC)

"No, the actions on Locke and Aberdeen on Saturday night were not organized by the Tower, but yes, we support what happened and are in solidarity with those who carried them out," a post on The Tower's Facebook page reads. "Class war is happening every day in this city, with constant attacks on poor and working people. It's disappointing that so many only care about the occasional moment when a bit of anger flows back the other way.

"The ongoing effects of gentrification in this city are heartbreaking — waves of displacement, growing violence, and intensifying poverty. You cannot expect for all of this to just be swept under the proverbial rug. We have zero tears to shed for Locke st."

The group goes on to say that it feels a family being evicted because of gentrification is far worse than the destruction of property on Locke.

"And the level of outrage is particularly despicable considering that there have been two random stabbings of women in the last few days as well. It's beyond disgusting to see conversations about artisan donuts being prioritized over conversations about violence against women."

The Tower's front window has also been covered up with plywood, and painted with the phrase "We are not in the least afraid of ruins, for we carry a new world here in our hearts."

The message is paraphrased from a quote by Buenaventura Durrutia, who was an integral figure in Spanish anarchism around the Spanish Civil War.

This user-submitted video shows fireworks being set off on Hamilton's Locke Street as a large mob walks by. 0:28

Hamilton police Const. Lorraine Edwards confirmed that the break in happened around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. She said that a concerned citizen in the area called 911 after seeing or hearing something suspicious.

"The front door was ajar upon police arriving and items inside the store (books and shelving) was scattered across the floor," she said in an email. "Police are continuing to investigate. Police will follow up with any leads which may involve the concern for further retribution."

Investigators announced Tuesday that they have linked an anarchist book fair held at a Hamilton high school over the weekend with the incident on Locke Street Saturday night.

At a news conference yesterday, Staff Sgt. Mike Cunliffe refused to say what that link might be. "I won't speak directly to the evidence," he said.

Around 10 p.m. ET Saturday, about 30 people dressed in black with their faces covered started setting off fireworks in the Kirkendall neighbourhood in the city's southwest, police said, and also damaged vehicles and threw rocks at store windows. Several businesses on Locke Street were targeted.

Hamilton police say they are still investigating after a group of masked protestors threw rocks at windows on Locke Street in Hamilton on Saturday night. Pippa & Prue was one of the shops that was targeted. (Ryan McGreal/Raise the Hammer)

One of them was Pippa and Prue, owned by Allison Prudy. She told CBC News on Wednesday afternoon that she doesn't understand why Locke Street should be the focal point of a conversation about gentrification. 

"So we just want tattoo parlours and run down buildings? Is that what we want?" she said. "[The area] needs to be fair for all, but I just think they picked the wrong neighbourhood. I think everyone wants a nice neighbourhood to live in, and we live in a place where that's possible.

"I don't think they're informed, the people who did this. I think they're hooligans."

Police are asking anyone living within a three-block radius of that area to check security camera video for any suspicious activity between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET.

"This includes any video that may show the individuals unmasked," police said in a news release. "Residents also may have witnessed large groups of people entering or exiting vehicles within the Durand Park or Locke Street area during that timeframe."

adam.carter@cbc.ca

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Hamilton home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music in dank bars. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.