Vancouver police have arrested a second person in connection with the ongoing protests at Pidgin restaurant in the Downtown Eastside, drawing condemnation from protest organizers.
Kim Hearty was arrested without incident outside her home on Monday morning, organizers said, even though police did not identify her by name.
Police are recommending charges of assault, theft under $5,000 and mischief. Hearty has been released pending approval of the charges by Crown Counsel.
Last month, police arrested a 25-year-old woman who allegedly tried to lock the front doors of the restaurant while staff worked inside.
"The arrests are based on hypocritical allegations" by Pidgin co-owner Brandon Grossutti, the Pidgin Picket group said in a statement on Tuesday. "The fact that the police department is using its resources to do Grossutti’s dirty work is not amusing."
The restaurant has been a target of anti-gentrification protesters since it opened near Pigeon Park, a notorious drug-dealing hotspot near the boundary between Gastown and the Downtown Eastside.
The restaurant operators say they are working with the community to improve life for those on the Downtown Eastside.
Protesters say the restaurants are too expensive for residents of the low-income neighbourhood, and many would prefer to see the location used for housing.
"As a response to the VPD working with gentrifying businesses to criminalize protest and poverty, picketers are promising to not only continue the Pidgin Picket, but to expand it to other high-end restaurants that are opening in the neighbourhood," organizers said in the statement.