Squeegee Organizers Jailed

October 22nd

1.IWW Goes to City Hall
2.Squeegee Council Under Attack
3.Letter to City Council

Members from the IWW Squeegee Council and Buskers Union visited City Council (Tues Oct.
21) to challenge the police harassment of street youth. A delegation walked into the Council
Chamber during a Translink presentation. All eyes quickly turned when two buskers began to
play the Wobbly classic 'Power in a Union' on the guitar and banjo. Security tried to intervene
somewhat passively as most Councillors were smiling during the disruptive song. Distracted by
the musicians security couldn't stop the delegation from handing out a letter (attached at bottom
of story) while others waved the Wobbly flag and the black and red Squeegee Council banner.
When the song ended the delegation left promptly saying "End the war on the poor."

In the lobby about two dozen people clapped. A Wobbly briefly spoke out that the police were
attacking and targeting street youth and it must stop. A bystander said "I'll vote for that." As the
delegation went down the stairs they past by several security guards who were late to get up to
the action.

Three IWW squeegee kids ran into problems at the same liquor store that was confronted last
month for refusing to sell to squeegee kids. Although 'X' had paid for her beer another liquor
store employee tried to stop the transaction. Having paid already, with receipt in hand, X left the
store unwilling to put up with the discriminatory behavior of an employee who was supposed to
have been reprimanded (said the Store Manager to the Squeegee Council).

The VPD arrived in force then stole X's beer and squeegee. At that point two more Squeegee
Council members arrived, 'Belle' and 'Blay', bringing the total to five. Belle produced a receipt
for the squeegee's and their union cards. The IWW paid for squeegee's precisely so the cops
would not steal them, this had been previously successful with the VPD. This time officer 1918
ripped up the receipt and union card. When Blay tried to take his union membership back he
was punched in the face twice then put in one of two paddy wagons.

Officer 2055 threatened to charge Belle with resisting arrest. Despite the fact the Belle is
pregnant the police were being rough with her putting her in the other paddy wagon. Belle
returned the favor by spitting in the undercover's face. The VPD drove Belle to the police
station than let her go free uncharged. They did not let Blay and X go free, nearly 24 hours later
they are still in jail. The police had been heard taunting X about belonging to the union.

During the altercation another squeegee kid pushed a police officer in self defence, then was
immediately jumped on by three more cops throwing him to the ground. During that fray the
VPD pepper sprayed his dog as well as someone else's for daring to growl when their human
friend was being assaulted. A VPD officer warned that squeegee youth that they would arrest
him whenever they saw him downtown.

The VPD felt that they needed two paddy wagons, 2 undercover cops, 3 women officers and
about 6 male to deal with the problem of squeegee kids acquiring beer through perfectly
legitimate ways. Currently two comrades remain in jail, while another was given a ticket for
jaywalking by officer 1918. We do not expect that the photographs from the OCT 10th Mass
Squeegee will be returned to us as they were in Blay's backpack. The VPD instigated this event
to further the climate of fear youth who are organizing are living under.

The Squeegee Council calls out for allies in the community to support our struggle. Add officers
2055, 1918, and 1200 to your list of dangerous and violent offenders against street youth, along
with 1507 "Anderson" who heads up the "Anti-Squeegee Project". Be aware the paddy wagon
7191 BT has been used to terrorize homeless youth. Was this retaliation because the IWW dared
to go to City Hall and sing a nice song for the Mayor? Perhaps next time the Squeegee Council
will do more than sing.


OCTOBER 21st 2003
re: aggressive panhandling bylaws

In 1999 the Ontario Provincial Tory government passed the "SAFE STREETS ACT" which
promised to deal with the epidemic of what was called aggressive panhandling. The 21.6% cut to
welfare and other social program slashes led to an epidemic in poverty. The media claimed that
the Safe Streets Act would deal only with panhandlers/squeegee workers who were aggressive,
but that was clearly not the case. The Metro Toronto Police gave out thousands of Safe Streets
Act tickets. Before any major event the cops would sweep the streets throwing anyone with
unpaid fines in jail. The Safe Streets Act was a vicious attempt to drive the poor out of the
public eye in Toronto, and had little to do with ending "aggression".

The IWW Squeegee Council is very concerned at the striking similarity between the Ontario
situation and what is unfolding in BC. Ie. Mass poverty, welfare cuts, institutionalized
homelessness. Like in Toronto the corporate media claims that a law needs to be made to
crackdown on aggressive panhandlers. However the Vancouver Police Department needs no
new laws to attack street youth, they are doing this already as previously mandated by ticketing
squeegee kids for jaywalking and soliciting business on the road etc.. The VPD have not been
able to clearly identify which panhandlers are aggressive and which are not. The VPD are
already giving all squeegee kids $86 tickets and many of them have ended up in jail. Squeegee's
are routinely stolen. Officer 1507 Anderson has a personal crusade that's called "the Anti-
Squeegee Project" which includes court dates, tickets, brutal release conditions and driving his
motorcycle on the sidewalk to chase kids. The Anti-Squeegee Project consists of identifying,
targeting and arresting squeegee "offenders". The VPD have physically beaten an unidentifiable
number of squeegee kids, and now taken to harassing buskers. A law regarding aggressive
panhandling gives the VPD the choice of determining who is "aggressive" and who is not based
on their own hatred and bigotry.

Does the City of Vancouver will to deal with the impending poverty crisis created at the
provincial level by jailing homeless and poor people? If people cannot access welfare or
housing they will have only two choices for survival. They will either make money on the street
by squeegeeing, panhandling, busking, by sex trade and flea marketing, or their other option is to
get into criminal offences which are much more dangerous.

-That no law be passed against "aggressive panhandling" including panhandlers, buskers,
squeegee kids and flea marketers. We know that such laws will equally harass polite
panhandlers, the intention of this law is not to target people who are truly aggressive at all.
-That the VPD end the "Anti-Squeegee Project" immediately.