A week after the curfew was enforced, police did not appear in the central districts of Montreal. Recalcitrant also. During the night walk, by metro and car, Tap Many restaurant delivery men crossed paths with health care workers, homeless people and insurgents. At five o’clock last Wednesday, a police officer questioned our journalists about being on the streets outside the hours allowed.
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“I’ll be home by 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Oscar, who hopes to earn a few dollars by asking a dozen motorists driving through Saint-Laurent Boulevard on the edge between Old Montreal and Chinatown. Since Saturday, a man has returned to the Old Brewery Mission, a nearby homeless shelter, as soon as he rings at 8pm. Or in the next few minutes. “It simply came to our notice then. It’s boring on a mission because there is no TV or radio, ”said the man who calls himself a sinner. Realizing that the curfew is in effect, he goes to the shelter to avoid problems with the police.
In a hurry, Walid Cherfa comes out of Bowie-Bowie in Chinatown. “It’s going well,” the delivery man said of the curfew. He has been arrested twice by police since Saturday. “They ask me what application I am working for. It is not complicated, I will show them my phone with the orders and addresses I need to go to, ”he said. In Chinatown, restaurants are closed until 7:30 pm to allow customers to return home before 8 pm.
Jonathan hurried to take a piece of paper out of his pocket. “I have my certificate,” he said to justify his walk in the Quartier des spectacles. Usually, at the end of his shift at a restaurant, he takes the metro between Square-Victoria and Berry-UQM stations. “I’m going to take a walk this evening because I have the power. I wanted to see how it goes with the curfew. It’s surprising that the man met so few police officers. (SPVM) confirms that the team responsible for enforcing the curfew has been set up between 8pm and 5am.
“I know I’m not allowed to go out … but the curfew at 8pm is too much,” said a young woman waiting for the green light to cross Sherbrook Street on Saint-Laurent Boulevard. .I came to have something to drink at the convenience store, ”defended the man who politely answered the questions. Tap, But who refused to be named and photographed. Until 7:30 pm, convenience stores should close their doors. Only gas stations are open and can only sell food, soft drinks and gasoline. The sale of tobacco and alcoholic products is prohibited during the curfew. Since Saturday in Montreal, 398 tickets have been issued to people who do not respect the curfew. Public safety will unveil a record of fines imposed at the regional level on Monday.
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The first police car was on the horizon. “What are you doing? Do you have your certificate? What about your press card? An agent asks. He does not demand to see documents and orders the photographer to stay two meters away from the car to respect social distance. During the two – hour, six – kilometer walk, it was the only police vehicle in sight .The city of Montreal has been satisfied with police work since receiving the decree. “In addition, remember that in addition to ensuring compliance with curfew, police officers respond to priority calls to ensure the safety of Montreal citizens.”
Derek Ilward was scheduled to leave at 8pm on Saturday night to challenge the curfew, which was in effect until February 8. However, he admits that his dog mouse forces him every night, which is allowed within a mile of his home. “I have no choice, otherwise he cries all evening,” Ileward said, adding that he was not sensitive to the government and the management of the health crisis.
At the de Castelnov metro station, a message echoes over the loudspeakers. “The curfew is in effect from 8pm to 5am. The service will be maintained for necessary journeys during this period, ”said the recorded female voice. The Eastbound train stops at the Blue Line station with only 13 passengers.
Many say they have been safe on the streets of Montreal since the curfew was enforced. This is the situation of Maxim So, who has an “urgent” job in a hotel in the city center. “I see a lot more police cars. It reassures me, it gives me a sense of security, ”he said. Between Sunday and Wednesday evening, Mr. Sonu was not arrested by police after 8 p.m. At the Berry-UQM metro station, two police officers contact our journalist and our photographer. They greet us and then leave without asking anything.
The more the evening goes on, the quieter the streets. On Saint-Catherine, in the Peel corner – in the heart of the city – there are no pedestrians or vehicles. During a forty-kilometer drive through the streets of downtown and Lachine, it was a dead calm. The SPVM verifies that the police have not set up a roadblock to verify the driver’s certificate.
Concerns for the homeless
Many social organizations are concerned about the impact of the curfew on the homeless population. “Many homeless people on the street after 8pm experience complex situations where they are reluctant to communicate with the police. We fear various abuses,” said Larry Bacro, of the Montreal (Rapsim) Lonely and Traveling Network Assistance Network. The organization called for an official “exemption” for this, and Quebec has denied it for the time being. Press Secretary Amelie Pocket points out that statements of guilt given to homeless people only refer to “some of the hundreds of cases involved.”
– Henry Ovalet-Vagina, Tap