giovedì 19 aprile 2012

Montreal: four government offices attacked and sabotage in the metro twice

MONTREAL – Police are investigating four separate acts of vandalism overnight that targeted the Montreal offices of several high-ranking government officials.

Things got started just after 3 a.m. when someone smashed a window at 750 Marcel Laurin Blvd., a building which currently houses the offices of Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier. Several bottles which “looked like Molotov cocktails” were thrown inside, said Montreal police Constable Yannick Ouimet.

No fire was started, however.

About 15 minutes later, another window was broken and similar bottles were thrown inside the building located at 3269 St. Jacques St., which houses the office of St. Henri MNA and Liberal minister responsible for seniors, Marguerite Blais. In addition to the broken glass, police found graffiti painted on the building and the sidewalk.

Again, there was no fire.

At 4 a.m., a third building – this time the office of Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand located at 5450 Côte des Neiges Rd. – was vandalized. The culprits used red spray paint to deface the side of the building, but there were no broken windows or other damages at that location, Ouimet confirmed.

“It was red squares that were painted,” he added.

Finally, just after 4 a.m., police were called to the offices of Minister of Labour Lise Thériault, located at 7077 Beaubien St. East.

“It was the same modus operandi,” said Ouimet. “Broken windows, bottles and graffiti.”

A window at the front of the building at 7171 Beaubien St. East was also smashed. Police believe that the vandals originally mistook it for Thériault’s office, located just down the street.

No fires were started at any of the locations, but because of the presence of what appeared to be Molotov cocktails, the police arson squad was called in to investigate.

The nature of the targets and the presence of the red squares suggest a link to recent student protests against the Liberal government’s plan to raise tuition fees in the province, but police are not laying the blame for the damage at the feet of any particular organization or group in the city.

In an interview on French television channel LCN early Monday, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a leader with the Coalition large de l’association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (CLASSE), said that his organization had nothing to do with the attacks. But Nadeau-Dubois said he won’t denounce the vandalism because it’s not part of the groups mandate to do so.

No injuries were reported, and no arrests had been made in connection with any of the incidents.

Sabotage in the metro (twice!)

Bags of bricks on the tracks this morning

This morning, the subway was paralyzed in what the Société de transport de Montreal called “a co-ordinated act of vandalism.”

Various actions interrupted the service as of 7:15 am. Bags of bricks were thrown on the tracks of stations Prefontaine College, Laurier, University of Montreal and Georges Vanier. The emergency brakes were also triggered at five sites for no reason.

The green, orange and blue lines have been stopped.

When the train stopped on the orange line, the announcer at the microphone said “we do not know if it was demonstrators who did this.”

The service has resumed on the Green Line to 7:35 ET shortly after the Orange and Blue lines.

If the interruption was of short duration, the fact that it affected all lines except the yellow network, has caused a slowdown well beyond the time it took to resume the service.

For Isabelle Tremblay, spokesman for the STM, “it is clear that this is a co-ordinated act of vandalism”. She has no group singled out for the moment, but the students will certainly be into the priorities of Montreal investigators responsible for shedding light on this series of mischiefs.

The service in the subway was disturbed today again. This time it was a smoke machine that was found in the Berri-UQAM station at 2:15 pm.

At 2:12 p.m., firefighters were alerted of a fire in the Berri-UQAM station.

Once on site, the firefighters realized that it was a smoke machine which seemed to have been launched into a tunnel.

The most important station of the city was completely evacuated, and a simple ventilation quickly make the air breathable again.

During the operation, the Green and Orange lines were closed, which lasted a bit over ten minutes.

No one has been affected by the smoke.

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