'Faceless, gutless cowards': Hamilton city council condemns Locke Street vandalism

Hamilton city councillors say whoever's behind a high-profile vandalism spree on Locke Street are "faceless, gutless cowards" who can "ply their anarchy in jail."

Whoever committed the Locke Street vandalism, the mayor says, can 'ply their anarchy in jail'

Hamilton police are still investigating after a group of masked protestors threw rocks at windows on Locke Street in Hamilton on Saturday night. (Ryan McGreal/Raise the Hammer)

Hamilton city councillors say whoever's behind a high-profile vandalism spree on Locke Street are "faceless, gutless cowards" who can "ply their anarchy in jail."

City council cast a vote Thursday condemning last weekend's incident, when a masked mob of about 30 people clad in black damaged vehicles and threw rocks through store windows. Council also vowed to do whatever it could to help police lay charges.

"Faceless, gutless cowards," said Tom Jackson, Ward 6 councillor. "Bunch of hooligans. Lousy thugs who did what they did this weekend."

"They can ply their anarchy in jail," said Mayor Fred Eisenberger.

The group's message "falls on deaf ears when it's done this way," Eisenberger said. If people are interested in fighting poverty, they should volunteer in their communities, or get active in their neighbourhoods, or run for election.

The Locke Street incident, which caused about $100,000 in damage, was "an act of terror," the mayor said.

Police have laid no charges after Saturday night's events, and no identified people have taken credit for the incident. Someone made an anonymous post claiming involvement on an anarchist site. The Tower, a local anarchist social space, says it wasn't involved, but that it supports the incident.

Police have said they believe the vandalism was connected to an anarchist book fair held the same day.

Judi Partridge, Ward 15 councillor, called whoever did it "absolute cowards."

"I use the term 'people' lightly," she said.

Maria Pearson, Ward 10 councillor, said for years, people from the suburbs have been afraid to come downtown. That image is finally changing, she said. "This has just set us back which is really sad."

Donna Skelly, Ward 7 councillor, brought the motion forward "publicly condemning the recent acts of violence."

Every councillor voted in favour, although Matthew Green, Ward 3 councillor, wanted to add that the city would send out information to business improvement associations about city grants available to businesses. That passed as a separate item.

Without action, Green said, the conversation was just "political theatre."

City council also passed its 2018 operating budget, which is a 1.9 per cent increase over last year. That's an increase of $75 on the average home valued at $337,100.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca