A large crowd of people marched through the Uptown-Douglas corridor around 6 p.m. on Friday night in protest of housing and Saanich’s treatment of the people who were living at the Regina Park tent city.
Chanting “homes not hate,” The crowd of more than 100 people included supporters, advocates and occupants of the former Camp Namegans tent city that was closed off to everyone on Thursday by crews from the District of Saanich and Saanich Police. The eviction came after last week’s B.C. Supreme Court injunction to remove the occupants from Regina Park.
The march started with a 5 p.m. gathering at Rudd Park, where a group of Camp Namegans members stayed Thursday night, and marched along Boleskine Road to Uptown.
“Today we’re here to say homelessness … is not a crime,” said advocate Ashley Mollison.
“Camp Namegans means ‘we are one,’ and we are,” said member Lynne, who spent last year in the Rock Bay shelter but moved into a tent at Regina Park to be reunite with her common-law husband Blair.
Saanich Police rushed a fleet of squad cars and officers to the protest, arresting one individual that was carrying a wooden baseball bat.
The rally ended on a vacant piece of provincial land between Carey Road, Highway 17 and Ravine Way in Saanich. People stayed there Friday night in about a dozen tents.
People are prohibited from seeking overnight shelter in these parks. We’re letting people know, who are experiencing homelessness, there are over 100 parks in #saanich where seeking temp shelter is permitted https://t.co/ti8u70jMyt. Overnight sheltering can occur from 7pm-9am pic.twitter.com/BAhqg0MJ9o— Saanich Police (@SaanichPolice) September 14, 2018
The occupants of the smaller tent city now at Carey Road is unsure how long they’ll stay or where they can go, but does not wish to pack their belongings up each morning. By staying on the provincial piece of land, the belief is they’ll not be subject to Saanich’s new overnight sheltering bylaw that permits refuge in more than 100 parks between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m., but does not permit daytime sheltering.