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Several people arrested as police sweep 8th encampment in central Edmonton


Three people were led away from a central Edmonton homeless encampment in handcuffs Wednesday, a day after some people living there refused orders to leave.

Police said one male and two females were arrested for "obstructing police" and charges are pending.

Officers began surrounding the camp, located on vacant land on Rowland Road and 95 Street, around noon, wrapping the perimeter of the site in yellow tape.

CTV News Edmonton cameras were there as officers approached several people in the camp.

"We can't keep getting pushed around, mister," camp resident Roy Cardinal told police in a close-up video captured by filmmaker Chris Konkle.

"What makes you think I'm going to back down from my rights as an Indian, a native? Tell me. I know you're going to feel sorry for me when you do what you have to do. Don't care, do I?"

"We're going to tell you this one time!" a police officer yelled at Cardinal.

"Your option is this: You can leave peacefully or you will be forcibly removed."

Officers then initiated contact with Cardinal, as he and others held eagle feathers above their heads.

A number of people were led away in handcuffs, including Cardinal. Other people were pushed behind the police tape.

Cardinal was loaded into an awaiting police van. He spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said he would resist leaving as long as he could because he saw no good reason to leave.

"I'm making my stand! What are we doing? We're standing up for our rights!" Cardinal yelled during a conversation with a police officer.

"What does this piece of land mean to them that they gotta come and shuffle us and watch it every day be empty? Is it because they're sightseeing? Aren't we part of the sightseeing?"

Roy Cardinal and others refuse police orders to leave a homeless encampment in Edmonton on January 10, 2024. (Credit: Chris Konkle)

Wednesday morning, about two-dozen people gathered at Edmonton Police Service headquarters to protest the removal of the camps.

"The police like to villainize them and say they’re the problem. No! Society is the problem that leaves our most vulnerable with mental health on the street to fend for themselves," said Judith Gale of the Bear Claw, a group that advocates for vulnerable people.

While the protest was happening, a judge decided to extend a court injunction that allows the city to remove the camps as long as certain conditions are met. It was extended until next Tuesday.

The Rowland Road encampment is one of eight deemed high risk by police and the City of Edmonton. The other seven had already been cleared.

"They say it's a high-risk camp. There's no violence here, nobody steals, we have a good rapport with the rest of the community. There's no reason for this," said Arlen Plashka, a member of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, who said he's been living in the camp for three months.

When asked what he plans to do next, Plashka said he feels like setting up a teepee on the legislature grounds, claiming the camp sweep is a violation of his treaty rights.

Shortly after the arrests, workers in white protective suits were seen loading the contents of the camp into white City of Edmonton trucks.

A man was also arrested near the camp on Tuesday. Police allege he assaulted a police officer and then resisted arrest. Charges are pending in that case as well.

During the Tuesday takedown, and in video captured of it, a stun gun could be heard. Police said it was activated but not used on the man.

He was taken to hospital at his request and released. The officer was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson


Encampment resident Roy Cardinal is led away in handcuffs on January 10, 2024. (Cam Wiebe/CTV News Edmonton) Top Stories

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