Group suspected in firebomb attacks

Three Second Cup outlets in Montreal were the targets of firebombs Thursday night, four weeks after a French-language extremist group publicly threatened the Toronto-based chain because of its English name.

The Globe and Mail
October 7, 2000

Group suspected in firebomb attacks
Ingrid Peritz

Three Second Cup outlets in Montreal were the targets of firebombs Thursday night, four weeks after a French-language extremist group publicly threatened the Toronto-based chain because of its English name.

No one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but police say they believe the incident was language-related. Among the suspects is a group call the La Brigade d’Autodefense du Francais (French-Language Self-Defence Brigade).

Police have linked the group to a string of increasingly violent attacks in Montreal that began in December. They include the attempted torching two weeks ago of a church where English-language activists were planning to meet.

“They’re No. 1 on our suspect list, “ Commander Douglas Hurley, head of the Montreal urban community police arson squad, said yesterday.

The first attack on Thursday came before 11 p.m., when a gasoline-filled bottle rigged with matches was left in a Second Cup outlet on bustling St. Denis Street.

Police later found similar devices outside two nearby cafes – one near a gas main, the other in a garbage bin. The firebombs caused no injuries or major damage.

The incidents came at a time of linguistic calm in Quebec, but also as the province recalls the violent events of the October Crisis. Cdr. Hurley said he believes it was not coincidence the firebombs were placed on Oct 5 – 30 years to the day British Trade Commissioner James Cross was kidnapped in Montreal, sparking the crisis that threw the nation into turmoil.

Second Cup, which has 43 outlets in Quebec, has been a favourite target of Quebec nationalists irked by English commercial signs. However, the province’s French-language advisory body, Le Counseil de la langue francaise, ruled last month that English-language trademarks such as Second Cup or Burger King were protected, meaning the companies don’t have to comply with Quebec’s language laws.

Yesterday, Premier Lucien Bouchard vigorously condemned the firebombs, calling them “totally deplorable,” and voiced support for he advisory body’s findings.


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