Squatters, artists evicted from Hochelaga-Maisonneuve properties
Tenants blame landlord for allowing loft-building to fall into disrepair
Montreal police moved in Friday to kick a group of squatters off privately owned land in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, while artists living in a nearby loft owned by the same landlord were also forced to leave, after the city's fire department deemed the building unsafe.
Montreal police Const. Danny Richer said 15 people were expelled from the property. There was one minor scuffle, but there were no arrests.
The squatters moved onto the Ontario Street property last Monday, but the landlord wanted them gone.
Tenants of the artists' loft say the building's owner allowed it to fall into disrepair, until the city had no choice but to evict them.
"In the last year, there was a fire, a bit of the roof flying off, with bricks falling off and a big flood from a water pipe that exploded," said artist Liliane Bonin, who has lived and worked in the building for the past ten years. "But you know, we survived."
"It's the only context where I could find community, art projects, activity and live a little bit," said Bonin."Community in the city is hard to make happen."