MAPLE RIDGE (NEWS 1130) — Protestors set up an ‘unsanctioned’ supervised injection site in Maple Ridge Wednesday evening, but the site has since been closed.
A group of activists had set up a tent in the yard of the Royal Crescent Modular Housing at 22548 Royal Cres., in hopes Fraser Health would open a permanent supervised injection site.
Ridge meadows RCMP responded to a rally at Modulars ended peacefully see update tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/v7NYyNIkjK
— Ridge Meadows RCMP (@RidgeRCMP) June 6, 2019
Caitlin Shane, a lawyer with Pivot Legal Society, said the move comes after Anita Place Tent City was mostly shut down earlier this year, including an overdose prevention site.
“People in the community, people who use drugs and their allies have set up a tent on a piece of land and are providing overdose prevention services to people who need them,” she says.
She says police initially showed up to shut the site down, but the action was delayed.
“Police initially came in quite energetically and were saying that they were going to arrest everyone for mischief, and we successfully stood them down and explained to them that there was risk of violating the Charter in shutting down a life-saving health facility in the absence of other facilities like it in the community,” she says.
“There are section 7. Charter rights at stake. This is a life-saving service that people need, and to shut it down, we worry would violate those rights.”
Up to 14 armed, uniformed @RidgeRCMP officers at the new Maple Ridge OPS, standing around and arguing with activists about the "right way" to respond to the overdose crisis. One thing is clear, policing, criminalization, and the war on drugs are killing our friends and family. pic.twitter.com/8whJwY3bnU
— Against Displacement (@stopdisplacemnt) June 5, 2019
Residents of the tent city and activists have repeatedly clashed with Maple Ridge Mayor Mike Morden since over the tent city, and since another unsanctioned injection site was closed at the camp. A man died of an overdose in April after the site was removed.
– With files from Marcella Bernardo