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Police pepper-spray social housing advocates during demo in Montreal

More than 100 housing activists stormed a disused nursing home in the city s east end Monday afternoon, touching off a tense standoff with Montreal police for three hours. Tensions escalated around 3:30 p.m. after a police officer pepper-sprayed some of the activists at the entrance to the former Centre hospitalier Jacques-Viger on de la Gaucheti re St. Police also escorted outside a handful of protesters who are members of the Front d action populaire en r am nagement urbain (FRAPRU). But more than 70 activists including parents with at least three children stayed behind in the vast complex of buildings that take up a city block. Police cordoned off the property and called for reinforcements.

They forced their entry inside, said Constable Rapha l Bergeron, a spokesperson for the Montreal Police Department.

They were involved in a little brawl with a police officer due to the fact that a demonstrator who wanted to go inside, the police officers were trying to block the access. Pepper spray had to be used to disperse the demonstrators, but a pretty good number had already entered the premises.

All the activists exited the building around 6:30 p.m. after police promised they would not lay charges against anybody. Still, the protesters had to provide their identification to police. Bergeron added that one of the protesters was arrested on an outstanding warrant, and police issued two tickets under a municipal bylaw that he did not specify.

Police Pepper-spray Social Housing Advocates During Demo In Montreal

FRAPRU protesters are seen at an abandoned CHSLD in downtown Montreal on Monday, May 22, 2017. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette

Initially, FRAPRU held a rally at Place du Canada at 1:30 p.m., calling on the provincial and federal governments to fund the creation of 50,000 social-housing units over the next five years.

In Montreal, there s a waiting list of 24,000 people for social housing, so we don t think it s unrealistic to ask for 50,000 units for all of Quebec over the next five years, said Emilie Joly, one of the organizers. The protesters then marched through downtown streets, refusing to give police their itinerary. Still, police on motorcycles followed them at a distance.

When the protesters turned on de la Gaucheti re, they ran toward the entrance of the unoccupied property. A lone security guard fled on foot, allowing them free rein of the property.

It s deplorable that they used pepper spray on us, Marie-Jos e Corriveau, a FRAPRU spokesperson, said at the scene.

This is a public building, and all we wanted to do was show that it could be used for social housing. During the brief occupation, a police vehicle circled the block repeatedly with an officer in the passenger seat warning through a loudspeaker that the building was in danger of collapsing. The FRAPRU activists said the provincial government had abandoned the property three or four years ago.

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A couple of protesters could be seen on the roof of the property, which borders St-Hubert St. to the west, Ren L vesque Blvd. to the north, St-Andr St. to the east and de la Gaucheti re to the south. Earlier, a Montreal Gazette reporter briefly followed the protesters into the basement of the property after they stormed one of the entrances. The basement was already in a state of disarray with rooms half-emptied of their furniture.

The activists unfurled their FRAPRU banner against a wall. Some of the protesters tried to turn on the faucets, but no water flowed through them. Among the protesters were a few with physical disabilities, and a couple were in wheelchairs. A mother walked down a basement hallway holding her daughter s hand. Similar social-housing protests were also planned in the Mont r gie, Abitibi and Bas-Saint-Laurent regions.

Israel pulls out all the stops for Trump visit

Israel Pulls Out All The Stops For Trump Visit

US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump board Air Force One for his first international trip as president, including stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Vatican, Brussels and at the G7 summit in Sicily, from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, US May 19, 2017. . (photo credit:REUTERS)

At an unimaginable cost in time, effort and human resources, both the Americans and the Israelis are leaving no stone unturned for the visit on Monday of US President Donald Trump[1], who will be the first sitting President to visit the Western Wall in the old city of Jerusalem. Other US Presidents who visited the Wall did so before they were elected or after leaving office or both.

On Thursday, an American advance team visited Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Karem in case of an emergency situation that would require medical treatment for the president. They inspected the helicopter landing pad, the CT scanning facilities, and the operating theaters. On Sunday, a dress rehearsal for the visit will be held at Ben Gurion Airport with the participation of representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry, Defense Ministry, IDF and the Airports Authority as well as the police. Last week, members of the US Military Mess who will serve as Trump s personal chefs and valets arrived at the King David hotel to familiarize themselves with the kitchen and with the requirements of kashrut. There have been many changes at the hotel in order to accommodate the Americans something that Sheldon Ritz, director of operations at the hotel, termed controlled chaos.

After long days with the detail-conscious American advance team, it transpired in the final analysis that President Trump has no special demands. Any food that he will be eating in the hotel is being brought on Air Force One and will all be kosher in deference to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, who are orthodox Jews[2]. All that the King David was asked to do was to organize hairdressing and make-up appointments and to ensure that there would be no other guests in the hotel. On Friday night, Ritz managed to oversee a dinner for 120 people in honor of the Premier of Quebec who was staying at the hotel, and another dinner for an Australian trade delegation, which likewise checked out on Saturday. The King David s housekeeping staff are not permitted to enter Trump s suite to clean up or even to lay the linens on the bed. The Americans take all this upon themselves, Ritz told The Jerusalem Post on Friday. All journalists traveling with Trump on Air Force One will stay at the King David, where a press center will be set up for them in addition to the larger press center at the Mamilla hotel. The Government Press Office is setting up a press center at the Mamilla Hotel, which is within easy walking distance of the King David and the Dan Panorama, where most other journalists will be staying. There will be approximately 100 work stations equipped with high-speed Internet connections that will enable the uploading of video files, live Internet broadcasts, real-time access to raw materials and the ability for journalists to work directly with their office or broadcast outlets.

Every journalist will be given a personal app to enable high quality live broadcast via cell phone camera with minimal 1.5-second delay. All app users will receive a unique URL thus enabling each individual their own distinct broadcast channel with a transmission link that can be sent to their media outlets and social media.

Trump administration assessing whether to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, says Mike Pence on Feb. 25, 2017 (credit: REUTERS)

The GPO will also provide services for on-line video streaming of live broadcasts, video players to view live broadcasts via a media asset management system, and a satellite downlink for the recorded live broadcasts, plus technical support services. Smolenskin Street, where the Prime Minister s Residence is located, is a small street full of cracks, uneven patches and potholes in the road. The Prime Minister s residence is the last house on the street, and is number nine. For more than two years, half the street has been sealed off by a metal enclosure, plus a traffic barrier and heavy black curtains. Residents of the street are permitted on some occasions to pass through, but not always, and even when given permission by a security guard are often stopped by someone from the border police and have to argue their way through. For more than a week now, even the rare privilege of walking to the end of the street has been denied the residents, because the whole of the enclosed area was dug up, re-fitted with security devices and other infrastructure and paved nicely for the Trump visit. The rest of the street is still a mess. Workers on Friday were putting the finishing touches on a huge security tent, much tighter than the one that was put up for Barack Obama.

Notices went up in the street and its surroundings advising motorists which streets would be blocked to traffic and parking. The notices were also placed on car windshields. The problem is that the notices are in Hebrew only, and the area is full of French and English speaking immigrants, not all of whom are sufficiently fluent in Hebrew to understand the content of the notice. At the President’s residence, less than ten minutes walk away from that of the Prime Minister, road workers had been digging up the pavement for months to create a new entrance. It had nothing to do with the Trump visit, but was more or less completed in time for it. On Thursday and Friday, presidential staff were busy laying fresh new flower beds, assembling the stages for the media, installing media equipment and rolling out red carpets. Carpet sweeping at the President s residence is done manually, and it is a very frustrating exercise for the people employed to do the sweeping, because almost without fail, after every speck of dust has been removed, someone will walk on the carpet and leave footprints. Efforts to prevent this by covering certain sections with a white piece of cloth are to no avail, because they are ignored by most of the people walking on the carpet. President Reuven Rivlin and his wife Nechama will be part of the welcoming group of dignitaries who will greet President Trump on arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport, and will then have to rush back to Jerusalem to greet him again when he arrives at the President s Residence.

It is customary when presidents of the United States or popes of Rome visit the President that they plant a tree together in the presidential garden. This time it will be an almond tree, and not any of the previously planted species, but it will be marked with a plaque whose message will be in the same gist as those of other tree planting ceremonies: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, may they prosper that love thee. Peace be in thy walls, and prosperity in thy palaces. (Psalms 122)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have a little more breathing space than Rivlin. His meeting with Trump at the King David Hotel is scheduled for 6 p.m. At 7.30, Netanyahu and his wife Sara will host a dinner for Trump and his wife Melania at the Prime Minister s residence, where other invitees will be subjected to the most stringent of security requirements. At 8 p.m., Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman will host a dinner at the King David Hotel for Trump s entourage and the Israeli delegation. At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Trump will visit Yad Vashem, and from there will go to the Israel Museum, where he will deliver a farewell statement prior to his departure from Israel.

All the dignitaries who will be at the airport on Monday to greet him on his arrival will be back there on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. farewell ceremony. No one from the King David will be permitted to enter his suite until he is well out of Israeli air space.

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References

  1. ^ visit on Monday of US President Donald Trump (www.jpost.com)
  2. ^ daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law, who are orthodox Jews (www.jpost.com)

Beaconsfield Train Station first in Quebec with pilot safety initiative

As part of Canada s Rail Safety Week, representatives from CN and Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle were at the Beaconsfield train station bright and early on Wednesday morning. The station was taking part in a pilot program that was a first in the province. Two brightly coloured yellow decals have been placed near the waiting area of the tracks noting Look, Listen, Live in French.

Trains cannot swerve on the tracks and cannot stop on a dime, CN Police Service Deputy Chief Shawn Will told The Suburban. And trains often look like they are traveling slower than they really are.

Beaconsfield was chosen for the graphics as an added reminder for passengers to be safe and to get home at the end of the day, said Will. According to CN, 65 people lost their lives and 202 were caught trespassing or for crossing railway tracks and more than 100 accidents as a result of the illegal crossings.

Too many people die while trespassing on railway property across Canada and those fatalities are entirely preventable, said Chief of Police and Chief Security Officer at CN Stephen Covey. These tragedies can be avoided by staying off railway tracks and by simply obeying crossing signals.

The objective of Rail Safety Week is to raise awareness for train passengers and the need to adhere to signage at crossing sites. Bourelle signed the Rail Safety Pledge vowing to follow the rules and CN is hoping others will follow the mayor s lead by signing the pledge online at www.mysafetypledge.com[1].

Railway safety is especially important for Beaconsfield as our urban area is split by railways, Bourelle told The Suburban. The mayor noted that safety and caution at the Beaurepaire train station is extremely important as motorists, cyclists and pedestrians share the road so by following the rules of railway safety can lessen the possibility of an accident.

Rail safety is everyone s responsibility, said Covey. By looking out for each other and working together, we can help keep our communities safe and prevent fatalities and injuries on or near railway property. Together we can save lives and help bring crossing and trespassing accidents down to zero.

References

  1. ^ www.mysafetypledge.com (www.mysafetypledge.com)
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