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The Violent Decampment of the Hastings Street Camp

by Dean Wilson

These photos were taken the morning of the Vancouver Police and the City of Vancouver’s violent decampment of the Hastings Street Camp. They start as I walked east on Hastings Street from Pigeon Park and continue to Columbia and Hastings where the majority of pictures were taken. These photos honestly depict the absolute brutality that the city felt was necessary to remove a camp that they essentially forced.

This was the height of hypocrisy. Having 4 park rangers at Pigeon park was a total waste of money. The park is only a concrete slab about 10m X 30m and is cut on the diagonal. So we had 4 park rangers guarding a 150 sq m. I actually asked them what they would do if the place went off and they just shrugged. I suggested that they run. And run fast. Haha.

This was the first indication of the size of the police operation to dismantle a tent city that they had caused. (We found out later there was over 150 officers.) Since COVID broke out, the police have been systematically herding all the homeless to 2 places, one being Crab Park and the other was the Hastings Street encampment. What did they expect when they pushed all these people to live on two city blocks of sidewalks???

This picture just breaks my heart. This guy just sitting in the middle of the busiest street in Vancouver. I found out that this gentleman had left his tent early in the morning to collect bottles and when he returned he realized that his tent and all his belongings had been thrown in the garbage. This photo honestly captures his feelings. I’m actually disgusted every time I look at it.

This really shows how the police view us. The cop in the middle just glared at me with utter contempt. At that point I pulled out my phone and started playing NWA’s Fuck da Police. It’s how I truly felt at the time.

I really admire Vince Tao community liaison for VANDU. He kept at those cops all day long and dealt with all kinds of media. What I thought ironic is that of all the media that day Vince’s words made the most sense.

This shows the absolute cruelty of the police that day. If you know the corner of Hastings and Columbia, it is where the OPS is. (Indicated by shutter with red hand on it.) So on the worst day of many peoples lives the police made it almost impossible to access harm reduction sites. The OPS was closed and you had to go through the two barriers and tell the cop that you wanted to walk up half a block to INSITE. Most people refused and used the alley to get well. All I can say is that those in charge have blood on their hands. Stopping people from being safe. How dare you!!!

In closing I want to say that I hope anybody from the Downtown Eastside recognizable in these photos are not upset. I just wanted to document what was going on. And I really hope that The Mayor and The Police feel ashamed at what they did. They really were pathetic.

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