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When Police Go On Strike (or are disbanded)

The Murray-Hill riot (also known as “Montreal’s ‘night of terror'”) was the culmination of 16 hours of unrest in Montreal, Quebec during a strike by the Montreal police on 7 October 1969.

Police were motivated to strike because of difficult working conditions caused by disarming FLQ-planted bombs and patrolling frequent protests. Montreal police also wanted higher pay, commensurate with police earnings in Toronto.[2] In addition, the Mayor of Montreal, Jean Drapeau, who had been elected as a reformer who had promised to “clean up the city” by cracking down on corruption, turned out to be no different from his predecessors, leaving many people disillusioned

Steven Pinker, the psychologist who was born and grew up in Montreal recalled how the wildcat police strike and the lawlessness that followed changed his views:

“As a young teenager in proudly peaceable Canada during the romantic 1960s, I was a true believer in Bakunin’s anarchism. I laughed off my parents’ argument that if the government ever laid down its arms all hell would break loose. Our competing predictions were put to the test at 8:00 a.m. on October 7, 1969, when the Montreal police went on strike. By 11:20 am, the first bank was robbed. By noon, most of the downtown stores were closed because of looting. Within a few more hours, taxi drivers burned down the garage of a limousine service that competed with them for airport customers, a rooftop sniper killed a provincial police officer, rioters broke into several hotels and restaurants, and a doctor slew a burglar in his suburban home. By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted, before city authorities had to call in the army and, of course, the Mounties to restore order. This decisive empirical test left my politics in tatters (and offered a foretaste of life as a scientist).”

Murray-Hill riot – Wikipedia

[HT: Tim Pool]

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gordon Scott June 9, 2020, 11:44 AM

    I have a vague memory of the term “Murray-Hill riot” but no real concept of what it was. Perhaps because by the standard of American riots at the time, this one was fairly tame. It was probably shocking to Canadians, though.

    The rioting in Minneapolis, which kicked off this whole mess, happened because the mayor ordered the police to ignore the looting of the Target store across the street from the 3rd Precinct (That’s the precinct that the mayor told the police to abandon, and which later burned). If the police won’t cross the street to stop looters, then it’s open season,

    A local nonprofit that salvages and resells building materials is offering to pick up the used plywood from the stores that did defensive boarding. It’s a good idea; the stuff is barely used. I think if I were one of those merchants, I would hang on to the plywood. It might be needed again pretty soon, and it’s already cut to size.

  • ghostsniper June 9, 2020, 11:47 AM

    “By the end of the day, six banks had been robbed, a hundred shops had been looted, twelve fires had been set, forty carloads of storefront glass had been broken, and three million dollars in property damage had been inflicted…”
    Sounds like Chicago every day of the week.

  • James ONeil June 9, 2020, 1:17 PM

    Your sign says you can’t breathe?

    Shucky darn, take your head out of your ass and you’ll be right, mate.

  • PA Cat June 9, 2020, 3:39 PM

    Remember, remember the ninth of September . . . when the Boston Police Strike of 1919 propelled the then-governor of Massachusetts to national attention. The photo of Governor Coolidge inspecting the Massachusetts militia at the top right of the Wikipedia entry complements the artwork at the top of Gerard’s post: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Police_Strike

    What is particularly fascinating, in light of the past week’s events, is the reaction of the New York Times, which called the 1919 strike “this Boston essay in Bolshevism.” A century later, NYT editors lose their jobs for being insufficiently friendly to the woke descendants of the Bolsheviks.

  • Casey Klahn June 9, 2020, 3:42 PM

    9 of the 15 years I spent with REI were on Capitol Hill, in Seattle. The old store.

    This just in: “Free Capitol Hill” is a 6 block autonomous zone with barricades and Antifa armed and ready.

    I wonder if The Vomit Tavern is still open for business?

  • Jewel June 9, 2020, 4:01 PM

    Imagine no Seattle
    No Portland Oregon, too
    A smoking stump Chicago
    And Minneapolis too
    Imagine all the whities
    Down upon their knees
    You might think that they’re crazy,
    but I’m not the only one
    Someday you might believe me,
    And America will be done.

  • Casey Klahn June 9, 2020, 9:44 PM

    Good one, Jewel!

    My old place of employment is the medical facility for the antifa barricade in Seattle.

    Ok. What is the difference between this and the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge?

    The difference is the whole fukn democratic’s party is fighting a war against the American people.

    Can’t figure out what we’re going to see next.

  • brad June 10, 2020, 7:13 AM

    Although I was only about 10 years old and living in Western Canada I do remember the unrest. The FLQ bombings, the kidnapping and murder of at least 1 politician, the police strike, and seeing the news with the military patrolling the streets. It was very concerning times for Canadians and especially in the mind of a 10-year-old who couldn’t really understand all the implications.

  • Harry June 10, 2020, 10:23 AM

    Forgot where I read it, but some idiot insisted that the riots were no big deal because they only lasted one night. Obviously for some neighborhoods one night was enough. And I bet the idiot lives far away from the looting and the burning. It’s never a big deal when it’s somebody else’s stuff getting destroyed.