7 people arrested as police move anti-racism protesters off Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts
VANCOUVER -- Seven people were arrested after police moved in on a group of Black Lives Matter protesters blocking the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts Monday morning.
The protest began Saturday, when people blocked the entrances to both roadways. Early Monday morning, the group was still there.
Shortly before 7 a.m., police moved onto the viaduct to ask the protesters to leave. The group began packing up tents and tarps.
A line of officers stretched across the road and slowly walked towards a line of protesters, backing them off the viaduct.
"For the most part, protestors were co-operative with VPD officers this morning and cleared the roadway when asked," said Sgt. Aaron Roed in a news release.
"The arrests were made after protesters ignored multiple requests and warnings from police."
At about 9 a.m., the Vancouver Police Department announced the viaducts were reopened. The VPD said more than 90 people left the area, but seven people were arrested after they refused to move.
Charges of mischief and intimidation by blocking a highway charges are being requested against those people. The VPD says there were "no major incidents until the arrests."
The group of protesters isn't speaking to media, but their signs have messages like "Defund VPD," "Black Lives Matter" and "Black Trans Lives Matter."
When the viaducts were first built in the 1970s, a city mandate forced the displacement of the Hogan's Alley neighbourhood, which was home to Vancouver's Black community.
Social media posts from those taking responsibility for organizing the protest say they're reclaiming the viaducts.
Posts on the Black Lives Matter Vancouver website say the group wants to see funding redirected from the police budget to a range of social services like child care, education and mental health supports.
After clearing the viaduct, some protesters moved to CRAB Park to stand in solidarity with an encampment there.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Emad Agahi and Jen St. Denis