On March 3, a group of about 30 individuals dressed in black and with a banner stating, “We Are the Ungovernable” marched down Locke Street and vandalized multiple local businesses. A few examples from the list of those affected include the Beverly, Bitten, Donut Monster, Locke Street Meats, Pippa & Prue, Neo and Naroma. All of these had windows smashed. Multiple other businesses were egged.
Swarms of people visited Locke Street on March 4 to spend money at businesses affected in the area. The Member of Provincial Parliament for Hamilton Centre and Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath announced in a press release on March 4 for a #LoveLockeDay initiative on March 10 to further support these stores.
Since then, reporting and perspectives have seemed to exponentially grow as media sources, organizations and citizens share different sides of the stories and their interpretations.
A statement from the Tower, an anarchist social centre in Hamilton, stated that they did not organize the actions, but they were in support of those who carried them out. The Sky Dragon Community Development Co-operative, a non-profit community development organization in Hamilton, clarified how an article in the Spectator mischaracterized their organization as a “now defunct anarchist gathering spot”.
There have been a few back-and-forths about the media’s reporting of the events and the relatively little priority other stories have gotten such as the two random stabbings in the city within the last week targeting women.
An anonymous post on the “North Shore Counter-Info” blog claims to be one of the participants and expands on the motivations behind the vandalism. The police mentioned a recent anarchist book fair held in Hamilton as they state they have received evidence linking it to the Locke Street events. Hamilton landlords on Barton Street say they warned police about anti-gentrification activists months ago.
This is all without even considering potential connections or situations in the past like how Tanya Detmar, a transit planning and infrastructure manager for the HSR, stated that 206 panes of glass at Hamilton bus shelters out of 670 in 2017.
Our coverage in Arts & Culture this week focuses on things like the positive support the businesses in the area have received in response and #LoveLockeDay. This is only one part of a substantially larger story that has the ability to question systemic issues across a wide-range of political and public endeavours and beliefs.