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(en) Canada, Toronto, Defend the Pope Squat! Rally tomorrow!

From Mick <mickblack47@yahoo.com>
Date Sat, 2 Nov 2002 05:43:59 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

--- OCAP <ocap@tao.ca> wrote:
 Community Action!
 As you probably now know, the Pope Squat was raided today by the police
 upon orders of the Toronto Fire Marshall - the reason given was fire
 hazards that threatened people's safety.  I guess he figures it's much
 better to freeze to death outside or catch TB or Hepatitis in a shelter
 than to have a roof over your head.  Let's hope he's not having everyone
 in this city evicted that doesn't have smoke alarms installed - this is
 one of the missing items he used to justify this criminal order and the
 latest round of police violence against the poor.
 There is a change to the location of the emergency meeting tomorrow
 morning.  Everyone is urged to meet at Parkdale  Activty Recreation
 Centre - 1499 Queen St. West tomorrow (Saturday) morning at 10 am to
 rally and then we'll move on to the Pope Squat (1510 King St. West) for
 a press conference at 11:00 am.
 There were 3 arrests today - one person who was carried out of the
 building against his will, and two supporters outside the squat.  The
 police got ugly as usual.  For the City TV report on the eviction, go to
 http://www.pulse24.com/News/Top_Story/20021101-012/page.asp> The Red 
Cross and Masaryk Cowan Community Centre are working with the> residents 
right now to find places to stay for this evening.> This action follows 
a series of incidents which are recapped below:

 * Last Friday, on the pretext of responding to an altercation, masses of
 cops (including ETF) launched a huge raid on the building.  Doors of
 peoples' rooms were broken down and the building ransacked.
 * This week, the water to the place has been turned off.  City officials
 originally demanded payment of a debt going back over years but
 negotiations are underway.
 * The Fire Marshall has now placed security guards in the building round
 the clock to conduct a 'fire watch'.  He made clear that this 
 had to be accepted or the residents would all be immediately evicted. 
 He informs us that certain modifications are required to bring the place
 up to acceptable standards but, as of writing this notice, refuses to
 provide us with the list on the grounds that we don't own the property!
     The Pope Squat has provided shelter to dozens of homeless people
 since July 25.  Huge amounts of work have been done to renovate the
 place and people have poured hours of effort into turning their own
 rooms into places they can call home.  This is all despite a complete
 refusal by any level of government to offer one shred of support or
     The Pope Squat is not just a place of shelter, though.  It is also
 an act of resistance.  The greed and irrationality of boarding up
 buildings while people sleep and die on the streets is challenged by its
 existence and there are those who hate it for that reason.
     The Pope Squat residents and OCAP are determined to preserve and
 protect this vital gain and to see it turned into a self managed social
 housing project.  Please come out and support this struggle on Saturday.
     For more information, call the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty at
 (416) 925-6939.
 		   Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
 	517 College Street, Suite 234  Toronto, Ontario  M5G 4A2
 	     416-925-6939   ocap@tao.ca   www.ocap.ca

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