Sunday, June 3

Police, women's anti-poverty group locked in standoff

Saying their demands for safe, affordable housing for women have been ignored for too long, members of an anti-poverty group took over an abandoned house on Sunday and are locked in a tense standoff with police.

About 150 members of the Women Against Poverty Collective (WPAC) took to the streets earlier in the day to take part in an anti-poverty demonstration.

Police arrived at what was an abandoned house at 4 Howard St., in the Sherbourne and Bloor area, when some of the protesters took over the building in the afternoon.

The women hung a banner and pitched tents on the property, saying they will keep the building and provide their own affordable housing for women and their children.

"We are children of survivors, we are survivors, we are friends of survivors of violence and poverty," one protester shouted through a megaphone from a window. "For too long we've had to witness our mothers, our sisters, our friends live through violence."

The group says this action is necessary because the provincial and federal governments haven't followed through on promises for housing and childcare.

"This is necessary because those who are trying to leave violence are stuck in shelters for months instead of the few weeks they should be there with their kids," said protest organizer Anna Willats.

"They can't find a place to live that they can afford. They are forced to live in neighbourhoods that are overcrowded, . . . unsafe. They are constantly moving around trying to find a place for themselves and their kids that they can live in dignity and safety."

Police told CTV's Desmond Brown that they're trying to negotiate an end to the occupation.

"But if they can't, they may eventually have to remove the protesters," said Brown.


1 comment:

Women Against Poverty Collective said...

What: Women Against Poverty Collective (WAPC) Trans Folk and Wimmin of Colour/Indigenous Track Meeting
When: Thursday July 26 4:30PM - 6:00PM
Where: 100 Devonshire (1 block east of St.George, just south of Bloor) @ the Association of Part-Time Undergraduate Students (APUS), Toronto

On June 3rd, 2007 hundreds of women, kids, trans people and male allies marched to 4 Howard Street to reclaim an abandoned building for housing for survivors of violence and their families. Our spirited peaceful protest was arbitrarily ended that evening by police on horses and on foot who pushed and shoved protestors into busy streets, tore down tents, limited our movement and otherwise acted with unnecessary and excessive force.

On July 19th, the WAPC rallied once again to take over the space in front of Toronto Police HQ to speak out about the violence at the June 3rd action and raise the broader issue of police complicity in women abuse through street theatre, spoken word, an open mic and several speakers.

Among the concerns raised at our last action was the targetting of police violence on women and transfolk of colour and indigenous women and transfolk. The WAPC is committed to providing a safe space for women and transfolk of colour and indigenous women and transfolk to discuss and act on these and other issues. Join us this Thursday July 26 4:30PM - 6:00PM at APUS located at 100 Devonshire for our Women and Transfolk of Colour/Indigenous Track Meeting.

The Women Against Poverty Collective is a group of women and trans people who are working together to advocate for safe, affordable and accessible housing for women experiencing violence.