The Vancouver Police says it has arrested five people in the city’s Oppenheimer Park – campers who wouldn’t leave the Eastside’s tent city after an imposed eviction deadline passed on 10 p.m. Wednesday night.
In a statement on Friday morning, the VPD said city crews “dismantled the last remaining tents” and police will be “considering recommending charges of obstruction and breach of a court injunction” against three men and two men.
“Officers made their way into the park shortly after 10:00 this morning asking campers to abide by the BC Supreme Court order requiring them to pack up their belongings and allow city workers to clean up the park,” reads the statement. “All had been well informed by police and others that failing to comply with the court order may result in arrest. The vast majority of campers were cooperative allowing work to restore the park to continue.
“A small number of campers who appeared intent on remaining in the park interfered with workers as they attempted to remove the last of the tents. Negotiations throughout the day continued with no progress. Officers were eventually required to step in to keep the peace and forced to arrest five people.”
Campers in Oppenheimer – which has been a shelter for homeless residents and protestors since mid-July – had begun to clean out their structures and belongings on Wednesday, the same day a man was found dead in a tent inside the park.
In the video below, camper Anthony Guitar called the death “sad” and said it, coupled with the park’s eviction, was like a slap “in the face.”
“While we were fighting the injunction for that week, it kept coming up how the VPD has spent over $100,000 patrolling this park,” Guitar told Canadian Press videographer Justin Smallbridge. “Well, if that’s the case, then why wasn’t that tent opened to see if anybody was in there, to see if they were okay?
“There’s not enough shelter space in this city. So, what do we do?
“There’s still over a hundred people in this park that have nowhere… come 10:01, a lot of these people are going to go to jail. And they are stating that, they’re staying there. There is nowhere else to go.”
VIDEO: Man found dead in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park