7 arrested as Vancouver police clear Black Lives Matter protesters off viaducts

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police clear viaducts after 2-day  peaceful protest come to an end'
Vancouver police clear viaducts after 2-day peaceful protest come to an end
Several anti-racism protesters have been arrested after refusing to leave the Vancouver viaducts. The group had been blocking the Georgia and Dunsmuir routes into downtown Vancouver since Saturday - before the peaceful demonstration was broken up by police this morning. Jennifer Palma reports – Jun 15, 2020

Vancouver police moved in Monday morning to clear protesters off the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

More than 90 people were asked to leave and police confirmed they arrested seven who refused to do so.

“For the most part, protestors were cooperative with VPD officers this morning and cleared the roadway when asked,” Sgt. Aaron Roed, with the VPD said in a statement. “The arrests were made after protesters ignored multiple requests and warnings from police.”

Click to play video: 'Vancouver viaduct anti-racism demonstrators arrested for refusing to leave'
Vancouver viaduct anti-racism demonstrators arrested for refusing to leave

Police are requesting charges of mischief and intimidation by blocking a highway against the people who were arrested.

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The viaducts were shut down Saturday after a group of demonstrators supporting the Black Lives Matters movement occupied them.

Police moved in around 6 a.m. Monday to clear the group and reopen the major thoroughfares.

The viaducts reopened around 9 a.m.

City crews were following police, cleaning up any debris left behind and washing messages off the road.

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The protesters then marched up Main Street, chanting “Black lives matter” and heading towards CRAB Park.

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They stopped for a while at Main Street and East Cordova Street and blocked that intersection.

The crowd told Global News they are protesting in solidarity with the homeless people at CRAB Park who were supposed to vacate this weekend following a court injunction. However, the campers were still there Monday morning.

“We are reclaiming the Dunsmuir & Georgia Viaduct to honour the Black life and community that once thrived in these exact streets,” the protesters said on social media, “while commemorating the lives of Black LGBTQS+ folks in Canada and the world lost to anti-Blackness and police brutality.”

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Demonstrators were also calling for better recognition of Hogan’s Alley, the historically Black neighbourhood in Vancouver that was demolished to make way for the construction of the viaducts in the the early 1970s.

Click to play video: 'Uncovering the history of Black Vancouverites in Hogan’s Alley'
Uncovering the history of Black Vancouverites in Hogan’s Alley

In a statement Monday, the City of Vancouver said it recognizes the right to free speech and peaceful protest and they know the recent protests are, in part, a response to their historic inaction on a number of issues.

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“Individual, structural, and systemic racism has had disproportionate impacts on the Black and African diaspora communities in Vancouver,” the statement reads. “The city, as well as other governments, public entities and society, have not done enough to address these impacts which has compounded the understandable hurt, frustration, and historic and ongoing harms experienced by these communities.”

The city said it is working on a number of equity initiatives to address racism in Vancouver and will be sharing details of the next steps this week. The first step will be to invite people from the Black and African diaspora communities to a town hall in the coming weeks.

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