This Past Monday Tent City Raised Its Demands To City Hall Despite Police Harrasment

28 Sep

On Monday myself and comrades from Tent City went to present to City Hall our concerns and demands that we came up with at our public meeting September 18th. These demands is that the city finish housing everyone at tent city, that their be an end to anti poor people discrimination by security at city hall and the bus terminal and that the region and the city set up community clinics where they go to the community and help people access services like housing, welfare and such and be proactive in making sure that the people who need help accessing these services do so.

As soon as i arrived I was greeted by police who feel that they have a right to intimidate me and others from participating in my democratic right to address address council. Also their was a strange sign that stated that people are not allowed to have protest signs in the council chambers.

Seeing these extra precautions taken by security and police due to the fact that I was presenting as a sort of criminalization of my politics I stated clearly that I would not allow police to interfere with my rights to address council and that if i was in anyway unlawfully interfered with by police and state agents there would be serious political repercussion.

We then went and presented our three points and had a 60 year old organizer from tent city talk about the harassment he had to endure at the hands of security and bylaw due to the fact that he is homeless. He also talked about his experience at tent city and the fact that despite the fact that the majority of people who signed up he is still sleeping on the streets.

Our presentation ended with us pointing out how these issues are political issues and should be addressed as such and not be addressed as law and order issues. I pointed out the and thanked the region for the way the issue of tent city was dealt with by the region as opposed to the way the police has handled and is continuing to handle this issue.

This presentation was followed by questions and two points that were raised was our position on the drug problem and how we police ourselves, particularly the issue of the use of force. I responded by stating that we believe that our rights our inalienable and in the absence of a police service that rules on behalf of the rich problems need to be sorted by the community.
I gave the example of when Gloria from Bylaw came to visit us and a nazi on meth attacked us and asked how do you deal with these issues without resorting to force and self defense. These issues were answered but honestly they need to be better elaborated and I hope over the next few days to write something up for discussion.

The presentation was well received and in terms of the first and third demand we are already working with regional workers on this and are setting up a housing and social services clinic on October 24th at 1pm at the Mill Courtland Community Centre. We will work with the region to make sure the second is also dealt with.

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