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Video of Woman reporter who is a Tent City resident arrested by Psych-Police in Downtown Eastside (DTES) on March 19, 2010

March 20, 2010 3 comments

In this video, Diane Claveau, reporter and Tent City resident is pursued, SWARMED, handcuffed and ARRESTED by 8 Vancouver Police and Psychiatric workers on March 19, 2010

Immediate Release 20 March 2010

Contacts: Wendy Pedersen, 839-0379 Rider Cooey, 872-1382

Vancouver Tent City Woman Arrested, Held for Psychiatric Assessment

Diane Claveau, a reporter and tent city resident often quoted in the media, was arrested Friday night.  She was tied to a stretcher, and transported to St Paul’s Hospital for 48-hour “assessment.”

Fellow campers Rene, Marley, and Gillian were outraged, emphasizing that Claveau was quiet and polite, with a friendly and calming manner that had a positive influence on others in the tent city.   They speculated her apprehension under the mental health act was instigated by Concord Pacific, owner of the site.

Concord wants to build a controversial condo development at 58 West Hastings.  Homeless people and supporters have demanded for two years that the full-block sized site be used instead for social housing.  They’ve peacefully occupied the land since February 15.

On Wednesday, in response to a CoV directive, Concord’s contract employees teamed with housing agencies to sweep the site clear of campers and their sometimes makeshift camping gear.  Campers who weren’t present returned to find their possessions gone.

The housing agencies offered a variety of “housing” and inducements for campers to leave, and— despite campers’ fear that some housing would be pest-ridden SRO hotel rooms—  all campers were persuaded to leave the tent city by Wednesday night.

Except Claveau.  She stayed, insisting she wanted to pay rent for “real housing,” not for a pestilential SRO or an institutional cubicle.

She was effectively imprisoned for the night when Concord representatives chained the gates shut.  Friends passed her food and supplies over the 6-foot fence.  The Vancouver Fire Department—after a month of multiple campfires on this property—gained entry and poured water on her tiny fire.  A breach of the Fire Bylaw, they said.

By Friday, the fears of other campers about bedbugs and other pests had come true, and a few had returned to the campsite.   When the VPD appeared seeking Diane, the campers succeeded in delaying any action by demanding that Claveau be allowed to consult a lawyer.

After the lawyer (David Eby) arrived and determined the paperwork was in order, a squad of eight VPD and health unit officials pursued and cornered Diane at the western end of the site.  She shouted and fought, aided by three women friends, but all were overpowered by the police.  Her hands were cuffed behind her back and she was pushed and pulled across the vacant lot, onto a stretcher, and into an ambulance.

Three supporters drove to St Paul’s and called encouragement to Diane from the lobby, until until asked to leave.

Wendy Pedersen, 839-0379  Rider Cooey, 872-1382

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