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Many arrests as Vancouver police enforce injunction against homeless camp

VANCOUVER — Police have made dozens of arrests after they say 46 people refused to obey a court injunction and leave a tent encampment on Vancouver's waterfront.

VANCOUVER — Police have made dozens of arrests after they say 46 people refused to obey a court injunction and leave a tent encampment on Vancouver's waterfront.

An email from police says the arrests happened late Tuesday afternoon as demonstrators sat on the ground and refused to leave the site near CRAB Park on federal land operated by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Police say the 46 were taken into custody for civil contempt of court, and one person was arrested for mischief and released without charges earlier in the day.

They were among more than 100 people who had been living at the site since last month's closure of a much larger tent camp at nearby Oppenheimer Park.

Police said 60 residents left the port authority property as officers acted on the injunction issued last week.

A spokeswoman for those campers says they have since moved to a new site about two kilometres away at Strathcona Park.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says in a statement that the CRAB Park residents were "forcefully displaced," without any direction about where to find safe housing.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the port authority lands are under federal control and enforcement of the CRAB Park injunction underscores the need for Ottawa to join B.C. and the city in addressing homelessness.

"The only way to end homelessness is by building housing, not evicting homeless residents without a plan for where they are to go next," Stewart says in a statement released Tuesday.

Stewart, B.C.'s Housing Minister Selina Robinson and the federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen will meet next week to discuss the federal role in housing, the statement says. 

Chrissy Brett, spokeswoman for the new homeless encampment at Strathcona Park, says the site has been dubbed Camp K-T, with K representing Kennedy Stewart and T standing for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Both leaders have fostered a stigma against the homeless by suggesting they are dangerous addicts, Brett says. (The Canadian Press, Global)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020

The Canadian Press