Council was told security hired to prevent encampments wouldn’t make arrests. One councillor is questioning why city documents say otherwise.
“We have the utmost respect for police officers, and I understand it would be their job to make arrests,” said Coun. Mike Layton. “Is the city being disingenuous?”
There’s a long history of complaints about police-citizen relations in Vancouver.
Mayor Gregor Robertson took a hardline approach to Occupy camps during the week following the election. But he has said he’s a tolerant mayor, and as the Vancouver Sun reported, “[I]nitiative D, he said, is an effort to build consensus. It’s not about the Occupy movement.”
The mayor was criticized for trying to evict Occupy protesters, who have now assembled again, in a peaceful march.
He also tried to keep public order when protesters attempted to take over the city’s garbage strike, a non-violent direct action protest against the municipal garbage contract that was sparked by the death of a Vancouver homeless man named John Hyde. That protest was eventually won, and Occupy Vancouver protesters were forced to leave.
Robertson and Police Chief Bill Blair have also been criticized for allowing police to be out on the street at the Occupy protests. The mayor has said that’s because the police were not told of the plans, and that he only learned of the plan when the news leaked.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has said police acted within their rights. But he’s come under heavy fire for the police move to keep Occupy out of the downtown core.
Vancouver’s Occupy movement has garnered much media attention since it started about two months ago. The City of Vancouver has issued an “action plan for managing and preventing the spread of criminal activity” since then.
The police are enforcing the city’s plan, which requires everyone to stay off the streets between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Occupy movement has been holding regular events, including a May Day protest outside the city’s Finance Department.
This reporter asked the Vancouver City Council about police and Occupy. They said they have to look into allegations the police are allowing the Occupy protesters to remain in the downtown core until after the city’