[Hpn] Six charged in protest against homelessness
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
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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