Police break up homeless protest outside Toronto mayor's office - Macleans.ca

Police break up homeless protest outside Toronto mayor’s office


TORONTO – Police removed members of an anti-poverty group who set up a makeshift homeless shelter outside Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s office, but the protesters vowed that the last word hasn’t been said.

More than 50 demonstrators from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty brought sleeping bags and blankets to City Hall Friday afternoon to protest a lack of space in Toronto homeless shelters.

Authorities told them they must leave by Friday night and when they refused to comply, officers started removing some of them from City Hall one by one.

The protesters had threatened to stay until the city deals with the problem in homeless shelters, but did not resist as officers led each one out of city hall by the arm.

“Nobody’s been detained, they were all co-operative with us,“ said Inspector Howie Page.

As the demonstrators were being removed OCAP spokesman John Clarke warned they will be back.

“We’re not going to live in a city where human life is lost on the street to social abandonment and neglect, it’s going to be challenged,” Clarke said. “I think the mayor has to respond.”

Toronto’s recommended operating budget for 2013 shows a decrease of 41,172 bed nights — one-night stays in a shelter by a single person.

Ford was not in his office, but earlier Friday told reporters at the Canadian International Auto Show that there are “plenty of beds.”

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