In Vancouver's vibrant Downtown Eastside (DTES) on Thursday October 23, 2008 a group of Insite supporters wanted to host a huge rally in support of North America's only legal safe injection facility. They even secured one of Canada's top bands Bedouin SoundClash to play for the cause. When the tents were set up, the burgers ready to be devoured and the audience ready to be head bobbing to the music - the men in uniform came a storming.
By the height of the whirlwind drama, there were at least 100 officers marching down Hastings Street trying to intimidate the crowd of peaceful supporters. Fortunately word on the street was there weren't that many cases of abuse - but it definitely was not a picnic in the park. The whole event had to be shut down - which dampened the spirits of all those there. Beth a community activist in the area indicated that there were many pushed aside and verbally abused by the police. She had wished they had acted more respectfully. Another bystander indicated that some of the Insite volunteers were offering the Police burgers to ease tensions - and while the accepted, it didn't help relieve the damage that was already done.
East of Main will report more on the story as it unfolds - and we'll try to talk to some of the main organizers of the event to find out what the next steps are and what actually alarmed the police to come in a raid fashion.
Photographer Andriy Mishchenko was live on scene and while have photos up shortly.