Tent village raises awareness for homeless

VANCOUVER - Hundreds of residents of Vancouver's downtown eastside and their supporters held a mass demonstration to demand homes for all, an end to the displacement of downtown eastside residents, and an end to police harassment, ticketing, and violence against the poor last week.

The demonstration titled “No More Empty Talk, No More Empty Lots” was led by indigenous women and elders from the downtown eastside. It was part of the anti-Olympics days of action, and was endorsed by nearly 100 local organizations.

Accusing the Olympics of worsening the living conditions of people in Canada's poorest neighbourhood, residents and their supporters marched from Pigeon Park to an empty lot owned by condo developer Concord Pacific and leased by Vancouver Olympic Committee at 58 Hastings St. Once there, they took over the lot and set up tents, started fires, and started assembling structures in order to house the homeless in an “Olympic Tent Village.”

At the time of writing the Olympic tent village is about to enter its third day of operating as a 24-hour autonomous housing community by and for downtown eastside residents. Organizers have not set an end date and Vancouver's mayor has vowed not to evict it, so it is possible that the Olympic tent city could remain open until the Olympics are finished and possibly even beyond that time.