From Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm to Sunday morning at 10 am Jubilee Park will be ground zero for a public event designed to raise awareness of the civil rights issues faced by drug victims in Abbotsford and to begin a dialogue on some of the issues facing the community’s homeless people.
It is being planned as a peaceful protest and public awareness event which organizers hope will offer citizens of Abbotsford an opportunity to meet some of those who live on our streets and talk to supporters and groups who are helping them to survive in the face of punitive municipal legislation (Anti-Harm Reduction Bylaw) and a general atmosphere of fear which advocates say has been created by the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Police Department.
Homelessness and addiction have come to define Abbotsford in the eyes of the world and a growing number of local citizens since the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident of June 4th in which city officials spread chicken feces in an attempt to rid the city of some of its homeless population.
That event, originally reported on Abbotsford Today, gained international attention as newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations covered the event and the subsequent apology by the City.
The Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) proposal to build a low-barrier supportive housing project near downtown Abbotsford was announced this summer and drew a fierce, reaction from the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA) which launched a petition filled with inaccuracies and outright lies about the proposal.
This was followed by reports of untruths and falsehoods being promulgated by businesses within the ADBA about the proposal. The petition was replaced but the original faulty petitions have been kept with no explanation of what will be done with the signatures.
A series of lawsuits has been brought against the City of Abbotsford by the Pivot Legal Society claiming a variety of violations of basic civil rights involving both the chicken feces poisoning and the city’s ultra vires anti-harm reduction bylaw which prevents addicts from receiving life-saving services in the form of clean needles and other services from the Fraser Health Authority (FHA).
An investigation has been launched by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) into allegations that the Abbotsford Police Department has destroyed the taken and belongings of homeless people, ripped their tents with knives, and attacked them with pepper spray.
On July 24, Abbotsford Today revealed an email showing the Salvation Army had been consulted and had approved of the Chicken Manure dump of June 4th.
On August 15 Abbotsford Today revealed a series of APD emails which show officers joking about the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident, the homeless, and those who work with them, in what can only be described as demeaning and derogatory language.
Through this entire summer of discontent, Abbotsford politicians (other than councillors Henry Braun and Dave Loewen) have refused to speak publicly on any of the issues facing the city’s homeless, drug victims or victims of the City’s bylaws, policies and actions.
Saturday night’s event is an attempt to educate the citizens of Abbotsford about what is going on in their name in their city.
City politicians and officials have been invited to attend.