As residents of the homeless camp continue to depart Regina Park, a camp advocate has raised serious charges against Saanich Police.
Ashley Mollison of Alliance Against Displacement has raised a series of charges against authorities in accusing them of strong-arm tactics.
“Saanich bulldozing tent city,” she said in a tweet Thursday afternoon. “Literally. Supporters and media not allowed in. Campers aren’t allowed to talk to each other, leave, or buy dope. 1 resident already arrested. I wasn’t allowed in cause I called it a police state. So #policestate. Not cool @saanich.”
Sgt. Jereme Leslie of Saanich Police confirmed police arrested one person, whom officers have since released.
“There was one arrest this morning (without incident),” he said. “However, that person has been released and is now back at the encampment retrieving his belongings.”
When asked about the charges in Mollison’s tweets, Leslie declined to comment
“We have no position on an individual’s tweet,” he said.
Mollison’s Thursday afternoon was among several in which she attacked police behaviour.
“Such an inhumane and cruel approach to homelessness,” she wrote on Twitter earlier Thursday. “Not only do people have nowhere to go, the strong arm of the state is moving in to tear down homes and lives. Is this what you wanted @saanich ???”
Mollison leveled this charge among others in a series of social media postings that started late Wednesday. She focused specifically on the police’s use of spotlights that police had erected outside the camp Wednesday.
Mollison continued to raise concerns, when Thursday morning, after police had told her that supporters of the camp would not be able to assist residents in helping them pack up.
She later spoke of a “state violence” in asking the public to participate in a 24-hour vigil.
These charges hovered in the background Thursday morning as several police officers supervised residents as they packed up their belongings. The Saanich News could not access the site. Observations from outside the fencing erected Wednesday show large piles of belongings and garbage placed among the remaining tents. During the course of the early afternoon, observers witnessed trucks and other heavy machinery coming and go from the site.
Police officers positioned near the two main entrances also asked pedestrians about their respective destinations. Police officers also kept media at a distance from the entrance near the intersection of Harriet Road and Battleford Avenue.
A sense of apprehension appeared to be in the air early Thursday, some 24 hours before a planned rally marking the end of the camp.
But observers Thursday also witnessed several lighter moments. During one such moment, a male camp resident and a female Saanich police were kicking a soccer across the field.
The Saanich News also asked the District of Saanich for comment and will update the story accordingly.