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Fresno Homeless Under Attack

by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
The homeless in Fresno are under attack. This is the latest in a series of reports about the treatment of the homeless in this community.

Fresno Homeless Under Attack
By Mike Rhodes

May 25, 2006 - The attack against Fresno’s homeless continues. This morning at 7 AM, Fresno City workers were ordered to destroy an encampment of homeless men and women on E street in downtown Fresno. Backed up by armed guards, workers from the department of sanitation moved their bulldozer and garbage truck into position. As men in orange vests and face masks moved in, the homeless hurried to disassemble their tents and load their belongings onto shopping carts.

This was the 4th attack on the homeless in the past couple of months and most of the residents on this small strip of land, under Caltrans management, are used to the routine. A police officer comes by a day or two before the eviction and tells the homeless to move. This is followed by the arrival of the City crew and police. The residents know that if they can move their belongings across the street in time, they can move back before the day is over.

Talking to Monte and Will the day before the evictions, they were largely philosophical about what was about to happen. "We will just pack up our stuff and wait for them to leave." said Monte, a military veteran. Will is a disabled vet. He was injured in the Korean war and uses a wheelchair. The shrapnel in his spine left him paralyzed. Will was on the street this morning as the eviction began. He wondered out loud why the city has the resources to destroy their community but not to provide a portable toilet or dumpster for the trash that accumulates.

When I arrived, Will was talking to Liza Apper, who works with the St Benedict Catholic Worker project . Liza and her husband Bryan were there to observe this attack on the homeless and try to provide some protection. While Bryan talked to the agencies involved about the law, Liza positioned herself in front of a tent that had been targeted for destruction. The owners of the tent were away when the bulldozer arrived and Liza was the only thing between the tent and certain destruction. She was told to move but held her ground. Eventually the bulldozer operator decided to go around Liza and moved further down the strip of land to scoop up blankets, food, and other items that had been left behind. About 30 minutes later, the owners of the tent returned. They hurriedly took their tent down and moved across the street.

See earlier reports here:


§Homeless are evicted
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
These homeless residents are forced to pack up their belongings and leave. All photos by Mike Rhodes
§Bulldozer in Action
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
The bulldozer scooped up one pile after another of belongings and dumped them into the garbage truck.
§Waiting to Return
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
The homeless moved their belongings off the strip of land owned by Caltrans and waited for them to leave.
§Standing up for Justice
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
Liza Apper (far left) put her body between the bulldozer and the tent. It was this act that saved the tent and the possessions inside from destruction.
§All that was Left
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
This flag, hanging on the fence, was the only item not destroyed as the police, Caltrans, and the Sanitation department removed the homeless from a small strip of land in downtown Fresno today.
§After the attack
by Mike Rhodes (MikeRhodes [at]
This is what the strip of land looked like after this morning’s operation. You can see the flag on the far right.
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Mike Rhodes
Thu, May 25, 2006 11:11PM
Ruth Ratzlaff
Thu, May 25, 2006 4:26PM
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