Homeless and underhoused people occupied Strathcona Elementary School demanding more housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, April 18. (Red Braid Alliance/Facebook)

Police arrest 14 people occupying empty Vancouver elementary school amid pandemic

Protesters were asking for housing during the COVID-19 crisis

Fourteen people have been arrested after they broke in and occupied a Vancouver elementary school Saturday (April 18), according to Vancouver police.

Protesters occupied Strathcona Elementary School demanding better housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Red Braid Alliance, a homeless advocacy group organizing the protest, dubbed the occupation the #StewartSquat and said it was part of the #Squat2Survive movement.

In a statement, the group said people took over a “vacant and shuttered building on the city-owned grounds of Lord Strathcona Elementary School.”

Police evicted the occupiers, a move Pivot Legal Society called “unconstitutional” amid a pandemic. The novel coronavirus has led to 81 deaths and 1,647 test positive cases in B.C., nearly half in Vancouver Coastal Health.

When asked about the occupation Sunday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said “breaking into schools or occupying a school is, in my view, not a legitimate form of protest.”

In a news released issued Sunday, Vancouver police said they were met with “hostile and combative suspects” when they arrive at the scene after 6 p.m. Saturday. Sgt. Aaron Roed, said “at one point, threw wooden pallets and other large pieces of wood at officers.”

Police said they arrested 12 people just after 1 a.m. Sunday and arrested two more who fled to the roof at about 8:30 a.m.

The Vancouver police said they will pursue charges against the 14 arrestees.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusHomeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Uptick in calls to Haven Society crisis line as restrictions ease

Organization reminds people of their range of services

ICET provides Qualicum Beach with $250K for East Village project

Town expects revitalization plan to attract more developments

COVID-19: Garage sales should follow mass gathering guidelines

City has received variety of queries on the issue

Parksville’s ‘Support Local’ parade celebrates businesses

Approximately 30 vehicles turn out for event

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach man stages concerts for charity out of his garage

Larry MacDougall says reception from neighbours has been heartening

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Stepdad able to walk bride down the aisle days before he passes away

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

Most Read