UPDATE 1:35 p.m. Friday: Vancouver Police say all five people arrested in Oppenheimer Park Thursday for obstruction, breach of a court order and breach of the peace have been released from custody.
Police say that since control of the park was reestablished, and they were able to confirm the identities of those arrested, it was not in the public interest to charge the campers. Police say they do not want to “criminalize” the campers.
VANCOUVER – Five people have been arrested by Vancouver police as city workers moved in to dismantle the tent city at Oppenheimer Park this afternoon.
Three men and two women were taken into custody.
Police will be considering recommending charges of obstruction and breach of a court injunction.
Vancouver police say a small number of campers who appeared intent on remaining in the park interfered with workers as they tried to remove the remaining tents.
Negotiations throughout the day continued with no progress, requiring officers to step in and arrest five people.
The eviction deadline of 10 p.m. Wednesday night came and went and the homeless camp is still standing, although with much fewer campers.
City crews moved in at about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday to begin cleaning up the park. There are still some campers that say they have no intention of moving anytime soon as they have nowhere else to go.
About 100 tents remained at the park on Wednesday night, with that number dwindling to about 50 by Thursday afternoon.
When police officers showed up on Thursday the first thing they did was to block off the bathrooms in the park.
It has been very peaceful at the park and police say they are there to provide support and make sure everyone remains safe.
“There’s a considerable police presence in the park and park staff are going through and taking down the tents,” said D.J. Larkin from the Pivot Legal Society. “There’s people who are working here to get people more time, and having those supporters here to give people more time, is helping to deescalate things so I’m really thankful that there are supporters here who are helping the campers.”
An information assistance booth has been set up to help the campers, along with a command centre, which is manned by the Vancouver Police Department and Fire Department.
GALLERY: Photos courtesy of Sergio Magro: