VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Seven people were arrested Monday after Vancouver police asked anti-racism protesters who had been occupying the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts to move on.
More than 90 people left the area after they were asked to leave, but seven people refused, says a release from Vancouver police.
“For the most part, protestors were cooperative with VPD officers this morning and cleared the roadway when asked,” says Sgt. Aaron Roed. “The arrests were made after protesters ignored multiple requests and warnings from police.”
Charges of mischief and intimidation by blocking a highway are being recommended against the people who were arrested.
.@VancouverPD says seven people refused to leave when police dispersed more than 90 protesters after they had blocked the viaducts since Saturday. Those seven have been arrested and charges of mischief and intimidation by blocking a highway, are being recommended. @NEWS1130 https://t.co/ZENQg9mQN9
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) June 15, 2020
After leaving the viaducts, demonstrators marched up to the old Vancouver Police station at Main and Cordova streets once dozens of officers converged on the commuter routes, pushing them further east.
The protesters had been camping out on the viaducts in support of the Black Lives Matter movement since Saturday.
Some protesters now moving off the viaducts eastward as VPD moves in on anti racism demonstration that’s been here since Saturday. pic.twitter.com/ScB8rsY3uB
— Mike Lloyd (@llikemoyd) June 15, 2020
Police officers had been telling protesters on loudspeakers they had the option to leave the area voluntarily, directing them toward Prior Street and Gore Avenue.
Chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “no justice no peace” echoed through the streets as the group marched north.
It was suggested the march could end up at CRAB Park, where a rally was held on the weekend after an injunction was granted in BC Supreme Court to clear it.
Protesters are being told to clear out eastward on the Georgia viaduct toward the Strathcona neighborhood. Number just been asked to move back to Georgia and Beatty behind the barricades.
— Mike Lloyd (@llikemoyd) June 15, 2020
Demands from the protesters on the viaducts have been in solidarity with what we’ve seen across North America for weeks now: defund the police, stop anti-black police brutality, and to commemorate Black lives lost.
Organizers told NEWS 1130 they were also reclaiming the route to honour the Black life and community that once thrived in that area, before people were forced out to make way for the viaducts.
Hogan’s Alley, a black community enclave, was the “unofficial name for a T-shaped intersection at the southwestern edge of Strathcona that formed the nucleus of Vancouver’s first concentrated Black community,” according to the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.
Thank you to everyone who is currently protesting to reclaim the #GeorgiaViaducts to honour the vibrant Black life, culture & community that it destroyed.
Newcomers: please bring food & drinks for the protestors staying over night. Remember to wear a mask and be safe! pic.twitter.com/wdDpzKzrID
— Hogan's Alley Society (@hogans_alley) June 14, 2020
Related article: Protesters continue blocking traffic on Georgia, Dunsmuir viaducts
Located between Union Street and Prior Street, Hogan’s Alley began to be torn down in the late 1960s.
“Fifty years ago, the construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts displaced this diverse immigrant enclave,” the foundation says.
On Saturday, protesters said they had no plans to leave.
The viaducts are closed and dozens of protesters are stationed at every entrance and exit with police a block away from each blockade. Some people are bringing supplies, food and PPE. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/JlwODxVx0O
— Kareem Gouda (@KareemsGouda) June 14, 2020
The VPD said Sunday officers were monitoring the situation, and that the safety of protesters, the public, and police was the primary focus.
“We respect peaceful protests, and during public demonstrations, police response is proportionate to the activities observed,” Sgt. Aaron Roed said.