This Sunday is the International Day Against Police Brutality. In the spirit of the day, the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre is organizing a black market in the DTES to protest against police harassment of neighborhood residents:

Significant street sweeps have been occurring in the DTES from increased and aggressive ticketing for things like jaywalking to “illegal” vending. As verified by the VPD itself, a year-end performance report shows that officers issued 467 tickets for violations of the Safe Streets Act in 2008, compared to 202 tickets in 2007. Police officers also handed out 133 tickets for violations of the Trespass Act, up from 95 in 2007. Tickets for city-bylaw infractions, including tickets for vending, panhandling, and loitering, shot up to 439 tickets in 2008 compared to 247 tickets in 2007.

Leading up to the 2010 Olympics, such measures are meant to ‘cleanse’ the neighbourhood and to intimidate DTES residents through the use of no-go orders for “chronic offenders” (i.e vendors/binners) and street checks by VPD Beat Enforcement Team officers.

In response to this, the Power to Women group is organizing an afternoon of “illegal vending” in front of the Vancouver Police Station on Sunday March 15th, International Day Against Police Brutality. We strongly encourage supporters and allies of the group and of DTES residents who are facing this increased onslaught to please come out and make your presence visible. We are standing together and we ask you to come out and support the Power to Women “black market” which will also help fund the groups ongoing activities! If you have any items (clothing, appliances, books, art, crafts etc) to donate to our “illegal vending” efforts, please bring them with you on Sunday!