Saint-Henri restaurant and bar Ludger had its front windows smashed by fire extinguisher-wielding vandals during service last Friday night — but is getting plenty of community love after the incident.
As CBC (and various other outlets) reported, around ten people in dark clothes broke the restaurant’s plate glass windows with fire extinguishes around 11:30 p.m. on Friday, and also targeted a nearby office for Projet Montréal, the official opposition at City Hall.
Most news stories on the incident pinned it to anarchist or “anti-gentrification” groups, although there’s no smoking gun to directly link it to them — in contrast, when a group looted a boutique grocery store last year, they put up manifestos on the store describing their position. Violence that isn’t linked to anti-gentrification or anarchist causes is something that happens in St-Henri, too.
In any case, windows were smashed and Ludger seem to have taken it very well — while they’ve been unwilling to directly address it and possibly add fuel to the interminable gentrification discussion in St-Henri, they’re at least willing to make light of the situation, and even coined the term “shatterday” in a post from Magdalena, the neighbouring wine bar also owned by Ludger’s Madeleine Rivet.
In a semi-public Facebook group for residents of Saint-Henri, plenty of commenters expressed support for Ludger (amidst the standard internet sniping), and Rivet jumped in to thank everyone for their kind words. Rivet tells Eater that a lot of Saint-Henrians came to visit for a drink after the vandalism, and she received “literally hundreds” of messages in support of the bar. She didn’t speak to media on Friday evening, but gave a statement saying that there’s room for everyone in St-Henri — here it is.
There is as much room [in Saint-Henri] for Fattalfest as well as Folkfest as well as live jazz music in your favourite bar or café. This all blends well here and as far as I’m concerned, if your intentions are right, we are all about sharing it.
Destroying local businesses [...] has shown no coherent results other than ostracizing the very few people who do it. And it might be confusing to others who wish to share their creativity, services and talent with the people of the hood they’ve chosen to live in or work in, but it stops nothing.
I am from the hood and work hard for it everyday [...]. And at night, when I go to sleep, I have nothing to be ashamed of. So at the end the day, what’s your message? What have you done last Friday that makes you proud and makes you feel like you’ve improved the hood’s life quality? I believe the answer is “nothing” and that’s where you can see the perpetrators’ true colours.
UPDATE — An anonymous article posted on anarchist news aggregator It’s Going Down places responsibility for the Ludger vandalism on an anti-gentrification group — the article is signed solely by “des insoumi-ses”, or “the ungovernables”.