Arrests made at Vancouver's newest tent city in Thornton Park
More than half a dozen people taken into custody and approximately 12 tents removed
Vancouver police made seven arrests Friday morning when called to assist park board rangers trying to oust occupants of a tent city in Thornton Park at Terminal Avenue and Main Street.
City staff acting under the Parks Control Bylaw attempted to work with the people who had put up tents on the Downtown Eastside site after the City of Vancouver started to dismantle another homeless camp a few blocks away.
Police were called when approximately 15 protesters blocked the park rangers and their attempt to remove the tents.
"They resisted the police coming to take 10 people out of the tents. They locked arms," said Letizia Waddington, an advocate for homeless people.
"It's the city's excuse that we have to dismantle this tent city because there's violence and because it's unsafe. What we're saying is that it's unsafe to be homeless and it's less unsafe to be in a tent city than in an alley way."
Four women and two men were arrested for breach of the peace. One other man was arrested for obstruction and resisting arrest.
Vancouver police describe six of the seven people taken into custody as "experienced protesters."
One man was in need of housing and provided with appropriate resources, according to Randy Fincham, acting director of public affairs for Vancouver Police.
It's believed the Thornton Park tent city occupants came from a similar site at 58 West Hastings St., where, on Thursday, hours before a court-ordered injunction was to take effect, many of the campers marched to the new location outside of Pacific Central Station.
"There's a will from supporters like me who are going to continue this fight against the exclusion of people because they don't have a place to stay, when everyone knows there aren't even places to rent for what the province gives to pay for rent," said Waddington.