Vancouver’s Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts remained closed Sunday, more than 24 hours after a group of demonstrators supporting the Black Lives Matters movement occupied them.
Protesters, some with signs reading “defund the police,” “protect Black trans lives” and “I can’t breathe” took up positions at the spans’ east and west entrances and exits.
Demonstrators used orange mesh and pallets to block the exits, and set up tents on one on-ramp.
“We are reclaiming the Dunsmuir & Georgia Viaduct to honour the Black life and community that once thrived in these exact streets while commemorating the lives of Black LGBTQS+ folks in Canada and the world lots to anti-Blackness and police brutality,” reads a social media post attributed to organizers.
Protesters on scene would not agree to be interviewed.
Demonstrators are also calling for improved recognition of Hogan’s Alley.
Hogan’s Alley was the historically Black Vancouver neighbourhood demolished to make way for the construction of the viaducts in the the early 1970s.
Demonstrators are also drawing links between the historic clearing of Hogan’s Alley and Saturday’s eviction deadline for a homeless camp next to CRAB Park.
Some of the demonstrators made their way to a rally at the encampment late Saturday afternoon to show support.
Vancouver police said they were monitoring the protest.
“Our primary purpose is to protect the safety of the protesters, the public and the police,” said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Aaron Roed.
“We respect peaceful protests and during public demonstrations, police response is proportionate to the activities observed.”
Roed said public safety remains the department’s top priority.