Housing protest at Vancouver viaducts, supporting Black Lives Matter, ends with seven people arrested

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      A protest in Vancouver that honoured the former site of a historic African Canadian community in the city has come to an end.

      At 11 a.m. on June 13, antipoverty and housing activists launched a demonstration, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, at the Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts, which they blocked with barricades.

      Organizers pointed out similarities between the forcible eviction of a tent city near CRAB Park (which formed after people at the encampment at Oppenheimer were relocated or moved out due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and the destruction of Hogan's Alley in Strathcona, where up to 800 Black people lived before pushed out in the 1960s for the construction of the viaducts.

      Protestors had marched from the CRAB Park site through the Downtown Eastside to the viaducts, where they established the demonstration.

      At 6 a.m. this morning (June 15), the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) began asking protestors to vacate the area, resulting in over 90 people leaving.

      However, officers arrested seven individuals who refused to leave after several requests and warnings. Police are requesting charges of mischief and intimidation by blocking a highway.

      According to the VPD, the demonstration was peaceful and there weren't any major incidents until the arrests.

      The viaducts were reopened to traffic at 9 a.m.