Fresno’s Last Homeless Encampment Demolished–but not without resistance

NOTE BY NORSE:  A day before Santa Cruz’s Community Blanket Sit-in on Pacific Avenue (scheduled for 1-3 PM tomorrow in front of Forever Twenty-One on Pacific Ave–or whereever folks want to show on Pacific), Fresno activists engaged in active resistance to the Fresno homewrecker attack on the unhoused community ther   Below is a brief update by Mike Rhodes, who will be on the stream of Free Radio Santa Cruz tomorrow (10-24) at 6:34 p.m.  Tune in at http://tunein.com/radio/FRSC-s47254/.

                Unlike Santa Cruz activists (myself included) who have put little time into providing support and defense for existing encampments,  Fresno’s strong advocates put their bodies on the line to block bulldozers or so they report.  Admittedly they also have some legal muscle behind them and on-going lawsuits (by an ACLU that actually supports homeless civil rights unlike the Rotkin-Pleich ACLU of Santa Cruz), but we can still learn lessons from them.The Grain Silo/Canal Bank Homeless Encampment is Destroyed

by Mike Rhodes ( editor [at] fresnoalliance.com )
Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

The City of Fresno continued their attacks on the homeless today by destroying the last encampment in the downtown area. The photo below shows one protester stopping a bulldozer as it tried to enter the encampment.

 

 

The City of Fresno destroyed the last remaining homeless encampment in the downtown area today. The assault on the Grain Silo/Canal Bank homeless encampment started at dawn and continued throughout the day. By 7:30 a.m. homeless advocates had blocked the two main roads into the encampment, preventing bulldozers and other city vehicles from entering.The city work crews shifted their strategy to focus on a handful of tents and other structures in a field on the other side of the railroad tracks. Bulldozers, garbage trucks, police and other support vehicles came down a dirt road on a canal bank to start the demolition. The handful of homeless people at that location were told to remove their property or it would be stored. The destruction of the structures at that location took several hours, while the homeless advocates maintained their vigil at the main encampment.

Eventually the city focused their attention on the much larger encampment and tried to bring in their bulldozers on a road that ran parallel to the railroad tracks on the south side of the camp. They were met by 10 – 15 homeless advocates who refused to allow the city vehicles to pass. After negotiations with Jim Betts, an attorney working for the City of Fresno, an agreement was reached to allow a U-Haul truck in to move some of the property.

As the homeless and their allies were loading the U-Haul a second bulldozer came down a road at the north end of the camp. One of the protesters jumped on the bulldozers claw and the city soon withdrew that vehicle.

The protesters, having gained time to help move the homeless, stepped back and two bulldozers and a garbage truck entered the encampment and started destroying what was left on the south end. It appeared that all of the homeless had moved out of that area and the property remaining had been stored.

I had to leave by mid afternoon, but it appeared that the city would have the entire encampment leveled by the end of the day. Several City of Fresno representatives told me that a fence would be put up on Thursday to keep anyone from re-establishing an encampment at that location.

Meanwhile, in other parts of town, homeless people are having their property confiscated if it is left unattended. I was also shown a citation one homeless person received yesterday that charged them with an infraction for leaving “debris in the road” which was, they say, their property. To see an earlier story about this new police tactic in Fresno, see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2013/10/09/18744608.php

To see what groups working in support of the homeless will do next, see: http://www.helpfresnoshomeless.org/

§Protesters Arrived at Dawn

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§The City Started the Attack in an Unexpected Location

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Bulldozer stopped by the Protesters

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Negotiations take place with Jim Betts (Center)

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

Betts is the attorney representing the City of Fresno

§A U-Haul Truck was used to help people move

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

You can see the protesters stopping the city equipment, to the left of the U-Haul

§Loading property onto the U-Haul

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Protesters Hold Their Ground

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Destruction of the encampment

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Some people moved their property across the RR tracks

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§One of the Signs Posted by the Homeless – to save their property

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

§Cinnamon, one of the homeless residents, Called out for Help

by Mike Rhodes Wednesday Oct 23rd, 2013 10:21 PM

 

 

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