For immediate release
December 6 2020

Displaced from Wesley street, homeless people to rally and fight back against city and police

UNCEDED SNUNEYMUXW TERRITORY (NANAIMO, BC): Former Wesley strip residents are calling a press conference for December 8th to speak out against the violent displacement by cops and by-law after a fire in the camp. A rally and march to City Hall will take place afterwards.

What: Press conference and rally
Where: Maffeo Sutton park, Lions Pavillion covered stage
When: December 8th, 10 am
Who: Wesley Warriors, made up of former residents of the Wesley Strip, and those who regularly accessed the space.

Last Thursday afternoon, a fire broke out on Wesley street where an estimated-60 person homeless camp was held for half of a year. The City of Nanaimo was quoted saying that they gave all residents ample opportunity to retrieve their belongings, but that was a lie. When RCMP arrived after the fire, residents were given 10 minutes to get their things and leave the strip, with the promise of being able to come back the next day at 8am to get the rest of their things. At 8:30am, the police brought bulldozers in to destroy and discard the rest of the camp. In the mess of destruction, people lost their I.D.’s, family photos, personal belongings, and their homes.

The City’s cynical use of a fire to displace the Wesley street encampment continues a years long cycle of displacement and terror against Nanaimo’s homeless population. Now displaced yet again, a flurry of Bylaw and RCMP officers are harassing and arresting those who have tried to seek shelter elsewhere. Representatives from the newly formed Wesley Warriors, made up of both former residents of the Wesley Strip encampment, and those who regularly access the space for community supports, will speak out about the City’s violent displacement and role in perpetuating a deadly housing crisis.