City brought bulldozers and police to evict residents from a Toronto encampment
Dozens of Toronto police officers have arrived to Lamport Stadium Park to evict encampment residents from their homes.
The scene onsite Wednesday afternoon has been a display of Toronto Police force involving bulldozers and altercations between officers and supporters of the encampment's residents that have led to four arrests, say volunteers on the ground.
Mounted police, officers on foot, and city staff in Hazmat suits have arrived at the Liberty Village park, which is home to one of Toronto's largest encampments for people experiencing homelessness.
Members of the Encampment Support Network (ESN) and Toronto residents have gathered on the scene to protest the eviction.
Caution tape was erected around the site as the City prepared to remove people from the property early Wednesday afternoon, and Toronto police have now set up at 74 Fraser Ave.
The forced displacement is ongoing.
"The cop and security presence is overwhelming," said ESN. The group is currently livestreaming the eviction process.
Cops block a claw that is coming for a person’s worldly goods . pic.twitter.com/9WLiqEFnmY— Encampment Support Network Toronto (@ESN_TO) May 19, 2021
At around 1:20 p.m., ESN's livestream showed an altercation with Toronto Police and a supporter of the encampment's residents, where one person was captured on the ground as officers told them to put their hands behind their back.
The crowd onsite erupted in a chant, saying, "Let them go."
4 arrests so far at Lamport stadium encampment. One person bleeding violently thrown into this court services vehicle. pic.twitter.com/hYawVIjPfZ— Encampment Support Network Toronto (@ESN_TO) May 19, 2021
According to the ESN, four arrests have been made so far at Allan A. Lamport Stadium. They are calling on more Toronto residents to show up at the park and show support for those being evicted.
Bulldozers have also been brought out to tow tiny shelters away from the park. According to city staff captured in a video by ESN, residents' belongings will be going into storage.
Last Friday, the city posted new Notices of Trespass at the Lamport Stadium encampment alerting residents that they would be arrested or fined up to $10,000 if they did not leave the premises. Their first notice was posted on April 6.
The encampment sits next to the St. Felix respite centre. Concerns around COVID-19 outbreaks in enclosed shelters have led many to turn down the city's shelter hotel spots and return to encampments, says ESN, and encampments are their safest option.
"Because of the failure of institutions to value and protect their lives, residents have created alternative structures of care and support in encampments instead."
The city has already cleared several other encampments, including smaller communities at Barbara Hall, George Hislop Park, and the median stretching along University Avenue.
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