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

ARTS AROUND: Rollin Art Centre garden opening June 16

Virtual art exhibits and gift shop to come

A LOOK BACK: maritime history of Alberni Inlet

Take a peek at Alberni Valley history with Alberni Valley Museum

EDITORIAL: It’s time for Canada to admit to its own racism

Make no mistake, racism exists in Canada.

UPDATE: Highway 4 reopens after police incident near Port Alberni

Highway between Port Alberni and the West Coast was briefly closed in both directions

ALBERNI GOLF: First scramble of the 2020 season a success

60 golfers participated in the J & L Mixed Scramble

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read