Three more people have been arrested and investigators say they are looking for eight more in connection with the protest that erupted in late July as Toronto police and City staff moved to clear the homeless encampment at Lamport Stadium.
In a release on Thursday, police said 38-year-old Brantford resident Skyler Lee Williams was charged with failure to comply with recognizance while another man and woman were arrested for assault with a weapon and weapons dangerous.
Investigators said eight others, four men and two women, are wanted on a number of offences including assault and obstruction. Police have released images of those wanted. Only one suspect was named, 32-year-old Toronto resident Samuel Nithiananthan, who is wanted for unlawful assembly, assault with a weapon, weapons dangerous and common nuisance, police said.
Today, we arrested 3 people in connection with a protest outside @TPS14Div where crowds became hostile. We are looking for 8 more, all wanted for alleged offences including assault with a weapon.
— Toronto Police (@TorontoPolice) September 16, 2021
Twenty-six others were arrested on July 21 as chaos erupted when City staff, supported by police, were at the stadium encampment, located in the area of Dufferin and King streets, to enforce trespass notices issued to people in June. A fence was erected around the encampment prior to the operation.
A number of protesters were on scene with signs in support of the encampment residents and also formed a barricade around the park using pallets. Some signs read “safer here” and “we need to take care of each other.”
Just before 2 p.m., police said protesters refused to leave the park and at least one officer was sprayed by an “unknown substance.”
Global News observed protesters forming human chains and police breaking them up. Tents were being ripped down and Global News saw some people being led away by officers in handcuffs.
Scuffles broke out and officers were seen pushing some individuals.
Officers eventually cleared out demonstrators from the park.
Investigators allege that following the protest at Lamport, a large crowd gathered outside of 14 Division. Police said officers attempted to keep the peace but that the crowd “became hostile and multiple people threw objects, including soup cans.”
Police said several officers were assaulted and were “purposely obstructed.”
Investigators encouraged the eight wanted individuals to turn themselves in.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, members of the homeless community and their supporters said they would fight charges laid against them after authorities cleared encampments from multiple parks across the city throughout the summer.
Nine were arrested after officials attempted to clear an encampment at Alexandra Park, as well.
The group voiced its concerns outside of Toronto Mayor John Tory’s condo Thursday morning. It said the operations left some people with broken bones, concussions and cuts after they clashed with police.
Police have argued they used enforcement as a “last resort.”
Early in the pandemic, hundreds fled Toronto’s homeless shelters for fear of contracting COVID-19, setting up tents in parks throughout the city. The city maintains the shelter system is safe, and city council passed a motion to end encampments.
—With files from The Canadian Press
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