Pubdate: Wed, 06 Jun 2012
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2012 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Ian Austin


Under the watchful eye of Vancouver police, protesters Tuesday claimed
that police are targeting and ticketing the poor.

Chanting "homes, not jails!" and "windows, not bars!," the protesters
took turns waving and extending their middle finger at police
videotaping the protest from the roof of Vancouver police headquarters
on Cambie Street.

"The police come in and clear out the poor people so the rich people
can move in," said Ivan Drury of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood

"The mass-incarceration program is here to put poor people in prisons,
not in housing that they deserve."

Aiyanas Ormond of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users led the
group across the Cambie Bridge, blocking northbound traffic, and took
note of the new governmentfunded B.C. Place Stadium retractable roof.
"They paid $600 million so this stadium could have a roof," said Ormond.

"They should be spending money so we can have roofs over our

Police and protesters had no conflicts Tuesday, perhaps because of a
gaggle of media that followed the police-escorted protest from the
Cambie Street police station across the bridge and on to VANDU's
offices on East Hastings in the Downtown Eastside.

"We're calling on Vancouver council to reduce the number of police on
our streets," said Ann Livingston of the Downtown Eastside
Neighbourhood Council.

Ormond said VANDU, which sponsored the march and rally, was formed in
the mid-1990s when up to 300 overdose deaths per year caught the
attention of Vancouver Coastal Health. It provides $200,000 in annual
funding to the group.

Ormond said daily meetings promoting health and advocacy are held for
the group's 2,000 members, composed of drug-users and former users.

VANDU's mission statement reads, in part: "To improve the lives of
those who use illicit drugs . . . committed to increasing the capacity
of people who use drugs to lead healthy, productive lives."
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