FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Police Brutality in Response to Homelessness
Wellness Within is appalled by the forced eviction of unhoused people from tents and shelters and police brutality unleashed on their supporters in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) yesterday, August 18. Violent, illegal police action yesterday included use of a sensory irritant (pepper spray) on the peaceful protestors, including on a child, causing injuries that had to be treated by paramedics; police directing journalists away from the scene and threatening journalists with arrests; police removing their name tags and police wearing “thin blue line” badges. These are domestic terrorist actions.
Mayor Mike Savage claims that yesterday’s police enforced evictions were done in the name of public safety. The only people who were made unsafe were the people who had their temporary homes destroyed and their supporters who were injured by police. There is no gender analysis of the extreme harm forced eviction places on women and children, or the trauma for women and children of being subjected to male violence by police.
Wellness Within has consistently argued that police do not in fact keep our communities safe. What is needed is permanently affordable housing, not using force to push unhoused community members out of sight.
Wellness Within demands the resignation of every member of Halifax City Council and of Police Chief Dan Kinsella for their cowardly, violent actions (and failures to act).
Wellness Within demands the city provide immediate PERMANENT housing (not temporary hotel or other shelter) to each person affected by yesterday’s police violence.
Wellness Within demands the police force in Halifax be completely defunded. Redirect city funds to much needed social supports, such as housing.
Wellness Within is a registered non-profit organization working for reproductive justice, prison abolition, and health equity in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kma’ki (Halifax, Nova Scotia).