Canada

After riot, Old Montreal businesses call for 'common sense and basic respect'

"Old Montreal was down, but you kept kicking us in the head."

MONTREAL, QUE.: APRIL 11, 2021 --Alex Danino, owner of a clothes store called Rooney Shop in Old Montreal sweeps up glass from a broken window made when a crowd of at least several hundred people gathered at the Old Port, chanting and shooting off fireworks and causing damage to protest the return to an 8 p.m. curfew in Montreal. (John Kenney / MONTREAL GAZETTE) ORG XMIT: 66009

Old Montreal’s small business owners didn’t mince words when it came to the frustrations they felt over the destruction caused by last night’s riots over the curfew roll-back.

In the last year, neighbourhood bar owners and their representatives like the Nouvelle association des bars du Québec have previously demonstrated over the imposed closure of their businesses, but kept civil unrest to a march in the streets while banging on cookware.

Now faced with broken windows and the detritus of burnt trash outside their doorsteps, restaurateurs and retailers alike have been consistent in their messaging: Last night felt more like a beating than solidarity with their struggles, akin to being kicked while they were down.

“This morning, I woke up feeling frustrated,” chef Jérémie Falissard of the fine dining restaurant Barroco wrote in an Instagram post that shows burning trash outside the restaurant. “We have not been able to act intelligently and effectively… I’m just asking for some common sense and basic respect for all the traders (including myself) who are having a hard time surviving during this pandemic.”

Owner of several bars in Old Montreal including El Pequeño and the Coldroom, Kevin Demers (above) has expressed that the gatherings on the night of April 11 were far from representative of the city’s feelings about the curfew, but Wolf & Workman co-owner Paul Desbaillets (below) had slightly stronger words of discontent.

Retailers such as Rooney and Maison Pepin — the latter a site of respite for Montrealers during the Christmas season when they created a decorative alleyway pop-up — had comparatively less to say on social media, but the effects of the riot were clear. Maison Pepin merely stated it was closed to the damage.

A screen capture of retailer Maison Pepin’s Instagram story on Monday, April 12 following the damage from the previous night’s curfew riots. PHOTO BY IMAGE: INSTAGRAM / MAISON PEPIN, @MAISON_PEPIN
A screen capture of retailer Maison Pepin’s Instagram story on Monday, April 12 following the damage from the previous night’s curfew riots. PHOTO BY IMAGE: INSTAGRAM / MAISON PEPIN, @MAISON_PEPIN

“What happened last night in Old Montreal was a senseless, utterly stupid, void of any worth riot,” Olive et Gourmando co-owner Dyan Solomon wrote in an Instagram story posted today. According to an image she shared, her restaurant Caffe Un Po’ Di Piu — close to the gathering’s meeting point at Place Jacques-Cartier — was damaged during the night.

A screen capture of Dyan Solomon’s Instagram story on Monday, April 12, with a statement directed at the previous night’s rioters. PHOTO BY IMAGE: INSTAGRAM / DYAN SOLOMON, @DYANSOLOMON
A screen capture of Dyan Solomon’s Instagram story on Monday, April 12, with a statement directed at the previous night’s rioters. PHOTO BY IMAGE: INSTAGRAM / DYAN SOLOMON, @DYANSOLOMON

“Thank you for breaking our windows, burning our garbage cans, destroying our park benches, for covering our empty abandoned streets with filth, debris, garbage. Like there wasn’t already enough,” Solomon went on to write in another story.

“Old Montreal was down, but you kept kicking us in the head.”

  1. Restaurant co-owner Rob Stutman cleans up on April 12, 2021, following the previous night's anti-curfew riots in Old Montreal.

    Already hit by pandemic, Old Montreal picks up pieces after anti-curfew riot

  2. A woman walks by damage on St-Paul St. W. that was made when a crowd of at least several hundred people gathered in Old Montreal, chanting and shooting off fireworks to protest the return to an 8 p.m. curfew in Montreal.

    Hold tight, Dubé says as Montreal's earlier curfew met with protest and rioting

jpkarwacki@postmedia.com

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