CSU to Boycott McDonald’s

Boycott a Response to Alleged Gang Violence in MacKay Street Restaurant

A boycott of a local McDonald’s is being set up by the Concordia Student Union in response to a spate of alleged gang violence in and around the restaurant.

“I’m going to advocate we boycott McDonald’s because I know a lot of Concordia students go there,” said Heather Lucas, the CSU president.

“McDonald’s, as a restaurant, their management, needs to be held accountable.”

The McDonald’s, which is on the corner of Mackay Street and Ste. Catherine Street, was the subject of a recent article in The Gazette documenting a number of alleged gang related crimes that have occurred there. The gang is purported to be made up of 14 to 20-year-olds.

Residents in the area said they are feeling hopeless because of a perceived lack of police action. One victim described being knocked to the ground after trying to stop the gang from stealing his girlfriend’s wallet. Then, when they went to the police—who were sitting in their car just down the street—the man said he was beaten by them and then told to get out of the area.

“It’s disturbing that the Montreal police are acting in this way,” said Lucas. “It’s shameful.”

Being one of the few 24-hour restaurants in the area, the McDonald’s is a late-night hotspot once the bars on Mackay, Bishop and Crescent Streets close.

“The McDonald’s is a big trouble for the area,” said a local storeowner who wished to remain anonymous.

“Girls will buy expensive jackets here and then go get an ice cream or hamburger and [the gang will] force them to take off their jackets, they steal them,” he said.

News of the Concordia boycott may come as a sign of hope for the storeowner, who has lost faith in the police, saying, “[they] do nothing. They always arrest the wrong people.”

Another local store manager said his business is affected by the alleged gang.

“I wanted to call the cops [after a group of young men dined and dashed], but I didn’t want the windows on my car broken the next day,” said Dennis Caragiorgas, manager of Scores restaurant.

Sergeant Ian Lafreniere of the Montreal Police said of the McDonald’s situation that “sometimes you get problems, but we have a huge police presence in the area.”

He suggested that concerned business owners should contact the commander of their local police station.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 20, published January 25, 2011.