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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Council talks trash: New garbage bylaw in the works

Draft bylaw to be voted on at Monday, May 25 council meeting

UPDATE: Police oversight agency investigating after shots fired Saturday night in Chilliwack neighbourhood

RCMP reported a ‘distraught male’ fired at police officers on Christina Drive – IIO is on scene Sunday

Prospera Credit Union, Westminster Savings lay off over 100 staff following historic merge

2020 merger was largest credit-union merger in Canadian history

‘Service beyond the classroom’: Gerry Palmer wins UFV award

Palmer has been involved with UFV for more than 30 years, starting as an instructor

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

‘Not a joke’: Promoter wants to rocket-launch man the length of White Rock pier

Brooke Colby says he’s building an eight-foot rocket in his backyard

RCMP confirm man dead in Chilliwack shooting incident

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

Boy, 2, left with ‘soft tissue injuries’ after being hit by car in Squamish intersection

Boy was release from hospital, police continue to investigate

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read