At a thwarted benefit concert for Insite, the supervised injection clinic in Vancouver’s troubled downtown Eastside, Uncle Weed chronicles the massive show of force by the Vancouver Police Department who shut down the Bedouin Soundclash concert and blockaded a full block of Hastings Street – ironically because, “pedestrians or motorists may be unduly put at risk by the event”.
The volunteers continued the civil disobedience bar-b-q to feed homeless folks despite the hullabaloo by the cops and vocal demonstrators attempting to incite a confrontation. Joined by the Quebecois Correspondent, UW discusses the political situation, harm reduction strategy, and gives a shout out to former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell (now a Canadian federal senator).
Line-up for High Witness Report at the In-site Police Standoff – Choogle on #71 (.mp3, 10:47, 10MB)
What was expected to be a free concert and BBQ in support of Insite, North America’s only injection site, turned into an unnecessary standoff. This was precipitated by the Vancouver Police Department, who stormed in to block access to the event and eventually dismantle it altogether before it even began.
In this particular shot, a man that tries to approach the concert stage is roughly showed away by a member of the force’s Crowd Control Unit, as incredulous bystanders look on.
More than 100 officers descended on the 100 block of E. Hastings Street, where hundreds of people had gathered to attend a barbeque and watch a concert by the Canadian band Bedouin Soundclash, in support of Insite, the city’s safe injection site.
Police said the structures and tents set up for the concert were taken down because the organizer, the PHS Community Services Society, which operates Insite, didn’t have a permit for the event.
More than 100 police officers helped city officials shut down a concert Thursday night in the 100 block of E. Hastings Street. (CBC)
“The city had declined a permit that was requested by the group,” Const. Jana McGuinness said Thursday night.
“The city is concerned that pedestrians or motorists may be unduly put at risk by the event.”
Mark Townsend, a PHS spokesman, said people should have the right to organize street festivities to support the safe injection site.
“It’s a demonstration. It’s what we are allowed to do. We’re allowed to put up tents, and it’s all organized,” Townsend said.
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