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Vancouver protest against police brutality shuts down intersection overnight

Last Updated Aug 3, 2020 at 2:20 pm CDT

Main and Hastings (Courtesy Google Maps)
Summary

A demonstration against police brutality blocked the area of Main and Hastings streets Monday


Activists allege police jumped in during a 'play fight,' then kicked, tasered two men before arresting them


VPD says it responded to a call of two men with knives, and an 'aggressive crowd' formed during arrest


VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) —  Allegations of police brutality prompted a demonstration that had blocked off the area of Main and Hastings streets overnight.

A small group of activists started occupying the intersection in the Downtown Eastside Sunday and had plans to stay “indefinitely.”

In a release, organizers explain the demonstration was a response to police brutality, which they allege happened Sunday in the same area. They say the incident started around 5 p.m, when an elderly man was playfighting with two Indigenous men.

Apparently officers intervened, jumped on the two men, tasered and kicked them before arresting them, the release says.

“This was the most brutal behaviour I’ve ever seen in my life, and I’m 76 years old,” says George Rubin, adding his arm was broken during the incident.

However, the Vancouver Police Department says officers responded to a call of two men fighting with knives.

“When officers were taking those males into custody, an aggressive crowd started to form. Some of the members of this crowd began threatening to kill the officers, others threw bottles and other objects at the officers,” says Const. Tania Visintin, adding two officers were hurt during the encounter.

She notes an elderly man was in the crowd, but to the VPD’s understanding, he did not break his arm.

Seven people were arrested, Visintin says, and charges including uttering threats, causing a disturbance, and assaulting a police officer have been recommended.

About 25 people stayed in the area protesting overnight, and the VPD says officers were monitoring “ensuring the safety of those involved.”

Earlier in the day, vehicles weren’t able to get through the intersection, and some bus routes were temporarily modified. Police were on scene detouring traffic before the area was cleared. around 9 a.m.