|Nation-Wide Squatting Campaign Begins in Canada!|
On October 26, 2002, the cross-Canada “Give It Or Guard It!’ squatting campaign began. Called by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), hot on the heels of their success with the 4-month-old Pope Squat, and after squatting actions in Quebec City, Vancouver, Victoria, and the bulldozing of Toronto’s Tent City squatter camp, OCAP put out the call for a national squatting campaign. The idea is to force governments to either allow homeless people and squatters to take empty buildings, or to spend resources guarding them with lines of police.
Squatters in Halifax cracked open an enourmous empty hospital and barricaded themselves in on the 4th floor. Supporters outside blocked the front entrance to the building with their bodies. On the 27th, police raided the squat and arrested 7 people. A support demonstration outside the jail was held.
In Montreal the Anti-Capitalist Convergence Housing Committee held a march and guided tour of potential squats and chanted against the gentrification of their neighbourhood. The group occupied an old building that is slated to become a luxury condo, dropped a banner from one of its windows, and left the building without any arrests by police.
In the small town of Sudbury, Ontario, the Sudbury Coalition Against Poverty, and the Sudbury branch of the Ontario Common Front held a march for housing, put stickers on abandoned buildings, and briefly occupied an empty school, where they dropped a banner. The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty faced-off against a huge police presence and police attacks on their demonstration in Toronto on October 26. Several potential squats were guarded by lines of police, and at several points bicycle cops and mounted policemen attacked the march, beating and clubbing people. There were 5 arrests for “breach of peace”. Towards the end of the march, OCAP members managed to crack open a building through its back doors, drop a banner from an upper-floor window, and escape through the front doors into the crowd as police broke in through the back to raid the building.
In Ottawa, the Ottawa Coalition Against the Tories held a demonstration and picket of a Home Depot business, in solidarity with the Toronto Tent City squatters who had been occupying Home Depot land in that city and were brutally evicted by Toronto police recently.
In Vancouver, the tent city outside the Woodwards building continued into its 42nd day, and the Anti-Poverty Committee released to the media the addresses of 6 buildings they intend to squat.
The movement continues to grow! Squat the lot!