DTES hunger strike ends after 36 days
VANCOUVER, Coast Salish Territories - 'Homeless' Dave called off his hunger strike tonight after a five-week bid for social housing. Dave and some of his supporters made the announcement outside the Pidgin Restaurant in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) where he first launched his solo campaign against gentrification.
Hunger strike supporter Wendy Pedersen explained that “Dave has now lost so much weight that his health is in danger. We convinced him it is the community's time to step up and lead the campaign." Dave's three demands are for 100% social housing at the controversial Sequel 138 condo project on Hastings and at the city-owned former 'cop shop' on Main Street, and that the City of Vancouver declare the Downtown Eastside a Social Justice Zone. Supporters vowed to continue the fight.
The "Closing Ceremonies" for the hunger strike held this evening included a rousing rendition of 'Ain't Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around' and street theatre involving a skeleton "killed by City Hall."
Throughout the hunger strike, Dave called on Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver to address the social housing/gentrification crisis in the DTES. After finally forcing a meeting with Robertson on Day 33, Dave was told "no to the demands." Vision Councillor Andrea Reimer dismissed Dave's 36-day hunger strike as "a theatrical exercise.”
After meeting with Robertson, Dave said, "the mayor doesn’t care, and that doesn't bode well for our community: his lack of respect pushes us to be even more confrontational.” Dave said he “cannot compete with the developers at City Hall” and he now “needs to get back into fighting shape.”
A community celebration is being planned for Dave, with invitations going out to the many community supporters who worked so hard on his campaign and the groups and leaders such as Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Nation who endorse the hunger strike demands.
Contact: Wendy Pedersen 604-839-0379
Hunger Strike demands: http://dteshungerstrike.