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

Kimberley RCMP pick up another early morning impaired driver

Another impaired driver has been picked up by Kimberley RCMP, this time… Continue reading

Kimberley Independent School students go seriously green

Huge garden and tree project undertaken by students, teachers

PHOTOS: Momma black bear and cubs spotted in Townsite

A momma black bear and her two cubs, spotted getting near The… Continue reading

Pay guarantee removed for some Kootenay on-call paramedics

Guarantee phased out as BCEHS introduces a new “scheduled on call” model

Playgrounds and public washrooms to reopen in Kimberley Friday, June 5

This Friday, June 5, 2020, the City of Kimberley will re-open more… Continue reading

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Nelson counsellor works online with university students in central Asia during pandemic

Robin Higgins is home from her job in Tajikistan because of COVID-19

Most Read