Homeless, supporters charged in Toronto encampment clearings vow to fight charges

TORONTO — Members of Toronto’s homeless community and their supporters say they’ll fight charges that were laid against them after authorities cleared encampments from city parks this summer.

They say more than 50 people face a variety of charges and tickets, which they argue should be dropped.

Violence erupted at various points as police officers moved in to clear homeless encampments in Toronto parks over recent months.

Read more: Toronto resident at encampment clearing seen in photo of apparent choking by officer speaks out

The group, which voiced concerns outside Mayor John Tory’s condo Thursday morning, says the operations left some people with broken bones, concussions and cuts after they clashed with police.

Police have said they were supporting city staff in the clearing operations and carried out “enforcement” as a last resort.

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Read more: 26 arrested as City of Toronto officials, police move to clear Lamport Stadium encampment

Early in the pandemic, hundreds fled Toronto’s homeless shelters for fear of contracting COVID-19, setting up tents in parks throughout the city. The city maintains the shelter system is safe, and city council passed a motion to end encampments.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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