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printable versionhomelessness news

Residents Return to the Pope Squat (Toronto, Canada)
by Gary Morton Saturday November 02, 2002 at 11:36 PM

Residents made a strong return to the Pope Squat today before noon. They removed the boarding and went back inside a door security left unlocked.

A bitter wind was blowing, and I was out front of the squat talking
to two security guards and a minister asking about the cats that lived
there. The guards said six to eight cats are still around the squat.
Though one old black one is still missing and the squatter woman who
owns it has been looking for it. Six of the others are owned by another
pope squat resident and are homeless while she is kicked out of the
squat. She is back in now. I don't know for how long. One of the photos
below shows one of the cats returning to the squat.

Conversation shifted to the squatters. The guards said they supported
the goals of the squatters, and believe there is a bad housing problem
in the city. I might've added that kicking people out when it is very
cold is a cruel solution. Instead I said that the squatters are
returning I passed them on my bike on the way here. Seconds later the
marchers showed at the corner and the guards got scared and ran off to
notify the police.

The crowd marched straight up to the front walk, tore off the boards
and went inside. A general air of victory animated the people, and
before long the residents were looking out windows, up to the third
floor.

In one stupid display, a cat that had been caged inside by security
was brought out and set free. And I say stupid because it didn't have to
be let out in the cold. They could have freed it inside and gave it some
food instead of using it for a political stunt.

A lot of cops showed and were still there when I left. I have no idea
whether they plan to let the residents stay or whether they will move in
with force again. I donated a bag of food for the cats, and if the
residents are again removed the animals will be outside the squat hiding
here and there so people that want to feed them can leave food at 1510
King West, Toronto or go down and support the squatters there. And if
you do you need really warm clothing as the wind from the lake is
wicked.

>>>>>>>>>Update: As of 3.30 pm police and the fire department moved in. After
negotiation the Fire Marshal's office agreed to a Monday meeting with the
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and the squatters. In exchange the squatters
have left the building (although as a gesture of good faith the building was not
locked up). PARC is working to find housing for the squatters for the weekend.
Individuals arrested yesterday at the eviction have been released.<<<<<<<<<<<


Photos:
Marchers Return
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper1.jpg
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper2.jpg
Front with door opened and window unboarded
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper3.jpg
Garden and Banner
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper4.jpg
Supporters crowd the driveway
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper5.jpg
One of the pope squat cats returns, coming down the sidewalk
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper6.jpg
Couple more pics of the front
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper7.jpg
http://photos.citizensontheweb.com/poper8.jpg

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