WINNIPEG — Many Winnipeggers gathered outside the Manitoba Metis Federation building in protest of the dismantling of a homeless camp in the city.
The rally, organized by Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, began Wednesday afternoon. The rally is called “No Evictions on Stolen Land,” and was protesting the displacement of people living in the camp.
A crowd could be seen gathering outside of the Manitoba Metis Federation building Wednesday afternoon.
“The houseless community are being evicted from their homes, the only home that they have,” said Joylah George-Marie, one of the protesters. “Where are they going to go after? They don’t have anywhere else to go. We all have homes to go to at the end of the day. This is their home, and they’re trying to eradicate them.”
George-Marie questioned why the aesthetic of the city is being prioritized over the lives of those who live in it.
“We’re here to hold the Manitoba Metis Federation and the City of Winnipeg accountable for moving in and enforcing an eviction on the people who were camped out here outside of the MMF hall,” said Brielle Beardy-Linklater, another protester.
“It was important for us to come here today so that we could stand with our relatives who are houseless, so that first of all, we can let the public and the City of Winnipeg know that these people have rights – especially as Indigenous people on Treaty land.”
Crews started dismantling the camp Wednesday morning.
The notice from the city, obtained by CTV News, was delivered to residents of the camp, who were ordered to leave the site by Friday.
It calls the encampment a fire hazard and a threat to life and property.
The notice says there are about 26 improvised structures made out of all sorts of material including wooden pallets, lumber scraps, tarps, shopping carts, and cardboard.
The notice said the site has been the scene of multiple fires, citing seven separate incidents since the beginning of 2020 where the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Services were called to the area to extinguish a fire.
This includes a fire that razed a tepee shelter to the ground.
It identified several hazards in the camp including open fires, the use of propane for heating, the risk of carbon monoxide accumulation within the shelters, and a lack of means to extinguish a fire.
Firefighters were called to extinguish two fires at the camp Wednesday morning.
The notice orders residents to leave the site by noon on Friday, as well as dismantle and remove the shelters. It says residents are not allowed to set up any new encampments on the property in the future, unless they have a permit.
The notice says those who fail to comply with the order may be prosecuted.
-with files from CTV’s Touria Izri and Danton Unger
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