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Indybay Feature

Escalated Protest May Be Under Discussion for Upcoming Freedom Sleep-Out's

by Robert Norse
The Santa Cruz City Council’s continued hostility to basic human rights by the City Council and relentless police and ranger ticketing for homeless survival behavior has raised proposals that Freedom Sleepers and other protesters bring sleeping bags and blankets to the next City Council meeting and sleep indoors.
Last Tuesday at the 14th Freedom SleepOut, Freedom Sleepers declared the sidewalks around City Hall a Safe Sleeping Zone and urged City Council and the City generally to do so.

With harsh “El Nino” winter weather on the horizon and City Council poised to pass proposals to severely restrict or ban RV parking, the Freedom Sleepers spoke one after another at the 10-13 City Council meeting, urging (unsuccessfully) that the Parks Master Plan contain meaningful provision for homeless emergency rest and shelter.

Instead police continued to dog the peaceful protesters during the Council meeting and throughout the night, setting up the usual super-bright klieg lights, 4-man “security” patrols, closed bathrooms, expanded “no assembly” zones roped off during the Council meeting, $198 tickets for holding picket signs outside City Hall at night, and restricted parking to deter protest vehicles.

There has been no restored emergency shelter for the unhoused community and meals, bathrooms, and laundry facilities shuttered for the vast majority at the Homeless (Lack of) Services Center.

Will Santa Cruz demonstrators take inspiration from the Baltimore “Black Lives Matter” activists and simply lay down their gear and sleep inside the Council next meeting? [See http://www.abc2news.com/news/region/baltimore-city/kevin-davis-confirmed-as-baltimore-police-commissioner ] Do Homeless Lives Matter? Not unless the outdoors and housed community takes action to make them matter.
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