Montreal activists pack up tent city for second time

For the second day in a row, a group of social-housing activists tried to set up a tent city to raise awareness about a lack of low-rent housing — and then had to dismantle it after an eviction order.

Group FRAPRU trying to raise awareness about lack of low-rent housing

Protesters set up a tent city on the corner of Pine Avenue and St-Denis Street on Friday. (Radio-Canada)

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  • Montreal police enforce eviction order
  • Officers hand out tickets to some protesters

For the second day in a row, a group of social-housing activists tried to set up a tent city to raise awareness about a lack of low-rent housing — and then had to dismantle it after an eviction order.

This time, the protesters pitched their tents on a stretch of grass near the corner of Pine Avenue and St-Denis Street.

Montreal police began making arrests after 4 p.m. Thursday - the deadline they gave protesters to take down their tents. (Emily Brass/CBC)
François Saillant, spokesman and coordinator for the group FRAPRU, was hopeful they would be able to stay longer because the land belongs to the provincial government.

But Montreal police Sgt. Jean-Bruno Latour said the province gave an eviction notice to the protesters at 2 p.m. this afternoon.  The protesters were given until 3 p.m. to leave.

At least five protesters were arrested and then released with tickets after police followed through on the eviction order.

Saillant said the protesters may use another strategy to raise awareness or look for yet another space to occupy.

Yesterday, police gave a group of about 100 people until 4 p.m. to take down their tents.

Some said they would cooperate, while others said they would keep their tents up in protest.

By 5 p.m., three men had been arrested

Four year wait for social housing

Saillant's group is upset about federal and provincial government cuts to social housing in recent years. 

Quebec will build only half as many units as planned for 2015, Saillant said.

He said more than 53,000 people are currently on a list for social housing with an average waiting period of four years.

Many protesters say the lack of housing makes getting out of poverty next to impossible.

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