UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

September 14, 2009

HOW SACRAMENTO TREATS THE HOMELESS

Change - For the third time in two weeks, Sacramento police arrested homeless people at a designated "safe ground" camping area for illegal camping. For the third time in two weeks, police confiscated all of their equipment, including sleeping bags, tents, food, and cookware. And for the third time in two weeks, the City of Sacramento has sent a cruel message to the world: They would rather criminalize their community's homeless than sanction a designated area where they can safely and peacefully live.

Fifteen people were arrested early Saturday morning for violating the city's anti-camping ordinance. Since the very public dismantling of Sacramento's infamous tent city several months ago, organizations and advocates have been camping in solidarity with the city's homeless at peaceful (but make-shift) "safe ground" sites. Although the campsite is on private land, leased by a local homeless advocate/lawyer, the city ordinance prevents camping on city property -- public or private -- for more than 24 hours at a time. . .

In the meantime, the peaceful advocacy continues. Campers have returned to the campground and replacement supplies have been collected (according to advocates, police are keeping the confiscated gear as "evidence"). Teams of advocates are staying with campers overnight as "legal observers" as a showing of solidarity.

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