Another homeless encampment in Toronto saw police carry out a June 12 trespass notice as local law enforcement faced civil unrest from far-left protesters.
Toronto Police broke through the makeshift barricade on Wednesday and tossed protesters to the ground, with repeated calls by enforcement to “hold the line.” Law enforcement arrested over 20 people at the scene after refusing to leave the park. According to City News, one officer was injured during the altercation after being sprayed with an unknown substance.
Several protestors resisted arrest, while others attempted to free fellow protestors arrested by law enforcement. As Toronto Police advanced, the makeshift walls of protestors linking arms disbanded within minutes. One onlooker told police to “stop being violent,” though law enforcement approached the situation with “the least amount of force.” Volunteers with the Encampment Support Network also distributed water and food to the 17 homeless residents from behind the fence.
On Tuesday, police and private security carried forced eviction orders at the Alexandra Park encampment, forcing its residents to leave the area, and arresting three people who clashed with law enforcement. Mayor John Tory said that the operation’s success depended on keeping people out of the park. He commented that he had "no part whatsoever" in the decision to not allow media into the encampment, and maintained that previous evictions were peaceful for the most part.
Police and security guards told the homeless encampment and protestors Wednesday to leave, with those refusing to face upwards of $10,000 in fines if convicted. Residents were permitted to take up to two bags of belongings with them and to pick up the rest at a later date.
The City of Toronto said the shelter system is safe, despite concerns held by a resident at the Alexandra Park Tuesday. They maintained they will clear the homeless encampments, which have risen in size and numbers during the pandemic.
“The city remains focused on providing a human services response to encampments and peaceful, voluntary referrals for people sleeping outdoors to safer, indoor accommodation,” they said in a statement. City council recently passed a motion to end encampments, citing they are “unsafe.”
The city added: “Since June 15, 108 people staying in encampments, including eight people this past week, have been referred to safe inside space. Since last spring, the city has referred more than 780 people from Moss Park, Lamport Stadium, Alexandra Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park to safe inside space.”