Power of Women (POW) Protest Police Street Sweeps

Power of Women (POW) Protest Police Street Sweeps

Power of Women (POW) Protest Police Street Sweeps

January 25, 2009, Vancouver [Coast Salish Territory] -- A hundred strong rally marched through the streets of the Downtown Eastside to protest ongoing police harassment of the poor. Organized by the Power of Women group, the marchers were led by Native women with hand drums, including members of the Downtown Eastside Women's Center (DEWC) Elder's Council. The protesters briefly blocked the intersection at Main & Hastings, then rallied outside the Main St. Vancouver police station, where an eagle was seen circling overhead. Speakers denounced the 'street sweeps' that target the poor & homeless, while the crowd also chanted "Stop the War on the Poor, Make the Rich Pay," and "2010 Homes, Not 2010 Games."
Below is a recent article on the planned police crackdown in the lead up to 2010, and a statement from the POW group in the call-out for the Jan 25 protest. See also the "Civil City is a Hate Crime: APC" statement uploaded to No2010.com on Jan 22, 2009.

Vancouver police plan Downtown Eastside crackdown ahead of Olympics
By Carlito Pablo, The Georgia Straight, Jan 21, 2009

With the Olympics just a little over a year away, the Vancouver Police Department unveils today (January 21) its draft business plan for 2009, which would see additional cops, more street spot checks, and more bylaw-violation tickets issued in the Downtown Eastside.

The plan will be presented at a meeting of the Vancouver police board chaired by Mayor Gregor Robertson.

It states that "in 2009 the VPD will introduce a new strategy aimed at reducing street disorder by increasing the number of members in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) on the Beat Enforcement Teams (BET), and increasing the time these members spend curbing and deterring disorder on the street in this area".

The plan goes on: "This strategy will be accomplished in part by a directive for increased discretion with regards to arresting and charging individuals for simple drug possession in this area.

"By placing the priority on seizing drugs rather than officially prosecuting the offenders for lower-level drug possession offences, VPD members will avoid the necessity of spending the majority of their shift filling out lengthy paperwork which effectively removes their presence on the street for several hours at a time.

"With more officers being dedicated to the area, and more of their shift spent enforcing the law on the street, the disorder and offending associated with this area will decrease, increasing the quality of life and safety for all residents and visitors in the area."

One of the plan's strategies involves the increased use of city bylaws "for disorder offences".

There will also be an "increased involvement in service of summons for chronic disorder related bylaw offenders; and increased usage of the Safe Streets and Trespass Acts".

The plan's targets include a "minimum of 4 street checks per BET member per block".

The VPD also wants to eradicate "street vending in the BET catchment area by the end of 2009".

In a phone interview, VPD spokesperson Constable Tim Fanning said that potential criticisms of the plan from Downtown Eastside activists are "nothing new".

"One of the goals of the department for years has been to work on street disorder because people down there want to feel safe," Fanning told the Straight.

"There's a lot of people that live in the Downtown Eastside that aren't addicted to crack that aren't on the streets all the time. Those are the people that appreciate a police presence," he said.

"We get more support from the community than criticisms because...a lot of people that we talk to that live down there, residents as well as businesses, people do not feel safe when there's a large amount of street disorder going on," Fanning added.

- please print and post if you can. look forward to seeing you there! -


Sunday Jan 25th
from 1-2 pm
Starts outside DTES Women Centre
302 Columbia Street, corner Cordova

All (including men) welcome!

Significant street sweeps have been occurring in the DTES from increased
and aggressive ticketing for things like jaywalking to complete
gentrification of Pigeon Park. Leading upto the 2010 Olympics, such
measures are meant to 'cleanse' the neighbourhood and to intimidate DTES
residents. We are standing together to show that we will not be scared-
stand for the DTES!

* See article:


Organized by the DTES Women Centre Power of Women Group: We are a group of women from all walks of life who are either on social assistance, working poor, or homeless; but we are all living in extreme poverty and are
dedicated to raising our voices and raising awareness about social issues
in our communities. Many us of are single mothers or have had our children
apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental
health issues for example HIV and Hepatitis C; many have drug or alcohol
addictions; and a majority have experienced and survived sexual violence
and mental, physical, spiritual , and emotional abuse. For indigenous
women, we are affected by a legacy of the effects of residential schools
and a history of colonization and racism.

For more information, contact project@dewc.ca or call 604 681 8480 x 234.