[Hpn] Six charged in protest against homelessness

Graeme Bacque gbacque@colosseum.com
Tue, 23 Nov 2004 01:25:39 -0500


Nov. 22, 2004. 05:25 PM

Six charged in protest against homelessness


Six people were charged with trespassing today after setting up tents in 
front of the provincial legislature to protest homelessness.

The charges came as several dozen people gathered to stage an overnight 
vigil to demand support for affordable housing.

Insp. Don Campbell said people can freely gather at Queen's Park, but 
they cross the line if they try to set up tents.

"They were allowed to come here under certain conditions and they 
violated those conditions," Campbell said of the protesters.

"There's no camping overnight."

He said the charged protesters were compliant as they were escorted off 
the grounds, and he described both police and protesters as respectful.

The protest was organized by the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee, 
which organized a similar overnight protest Sunday on the grounds of 
Toronto's City Hall.

Protester Heather McDonald, bundled in several layers to weather an 
expected chilly night at Queen's Park, said organizers had hoped to 
pepper the lawn with tents and sought out a handful of demonstrators 
willing to pitch tents in the afternoon and risk possible arrest.

She questioned the logic behind the restrictions, but said she planned 
to abide by the overnight rules and would use only a sleeping bag.

"If we weren't damaging any property, why couldn't we tent out here 
tonight in solidarity with everybody who's living on the streets?" said 
McDonald, 30.

Campbell accused the protesters of seeking an arrest to raise the 
profile of their cause.

"They wanted to make a point and they made their point," he said.

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