Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Montreal Hooligans

So things got pretty wild here in Montreal after the Habs won their first round in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

I came out of the library around 11 to see the celebrations. St. Katherine (the main artery of Montreal) was filled with exuberant fans and honking cars. Police soon showed up and lined up in front of the Concordia Fine Arts building. I assumed to protect people from breaking the glass windows and hurting themselves, but this soon showed itself to be a rather stupid move, since the crowd began to hurl empty beer bottles at them (thus increasing the likelihood of broken glass...). Things soon got even more out of control as word got out that cop cars on mcKay and St Katherine had been set aflame. When I got there everyone was stampeding away from the burning vehicles. I figured they were afraid the cars were going to explode, so I just kept pushing through the masses. When I got to the front I realized everyone was running from the riot police that had lined up at the intersection. You could walk right through their line though, so I slipped through and got a closer look at the burning cars and the rowdy crowd. Fire trucks showed up on the scene and started spraying the three burning cop cars. The police just sort of stood idly by, not really doing much of anything besides making a presence. A few kids near me started kicking in the glass of a reebok store and grabbed the mannequin in the display window who was wearing a Habs jersey and hockey gear.

Eventually more riot police showed up and the crowd started to disperse. I headed back to the library assuming the show was mostly over. When I finally headed home and walked down St. Katherine to see the damage, I was pretty shocked to see how many stores had been looted. A number of clothing stores had their windows broken into, some idiot smashed the window of a western union, then the two SAQ's (liquor stores) had had their windows smashed and looked severely raided. Broken bottles and trash littered the street. One guy I passed had manikin legs (presumably from the one I saw sabotaged)standing upright on his shoulders. A hobo had a manikin hand (presumably from the one I saw sabotaged) and asked me, rather wittingly, if I "needed an extra hand."

Anyways there's a bunch of videos on youtube of the whole affair. This one was shot further downtown from where I was (towards Peel and St Katherine I think):

Here's a recap that I saw them taping today, but it has some footage from last night (including where I was, tho I haven't seen me yet):

I think this just goes to show that mankind really is a synonym for stupid. Why you would want to destroy your town after your team won one for your town is beyond me. It was, confessedly, quite an entertaining spectacle however, since it was certainly something you don't see every day, but I feel bad for the shop keepers and officers who suffered at the behest of drunk, stupid, and unresponsible teens and young adults. Celebrating is one thing, but looting stores and lighting cars aflame is just plain senseless.

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