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Toronto protesters engaged in a tense standoff with police outside the apartment building at 108 Goodwood Park Court this afternoon and successfully prevented a resident from being evicted.
Tenant advocates and neighbours of the resident facing eviction showed up to the East York location early Monday afternoon in preparation for police and sheriff presence, and officers arrived on the scene shortly after to carry out the eviction.
Upon their arrival, advocates communicated with police that they believe the tenant should not be facing eviction, since she is prepared to pay rent, she just simply cannot afford to retroactively pay for many months all at once and is instead requesting a repayment plan that is within her means.
Protestors also explained to police that they believe evictions should not be enforced throughout the pandemic, pointing to widespread encampments throughout the city as evidence that there is nowhere to go when people lose their homes in these times.
Police, meanwhile, simply stated that they had spoken to the sheriff and were informed that there was an expidited order to evict the tenant.
But while protestors told police they believed there was no reason for them to be there as this was a landlord/tenant matter, additional officers arrived on the scene.
In total, according to Keep Your Rent Toronto — an organization focused on preventing COVID evictions — 14 police officers came to Goodwood Park.
Advocates also pointed out that Mayor John Tory has previously said that Toronto police do not actively enforce evictions unless there is a public safety concern, which is confusing considering the number of officers that showed up to help evict one single tenant.
But despite the number of police on the scene, advocates formed a human blockade to prevent them from being able to enforce the eviction.
And when it became clear they weren’t going anywhere, officers eventually left without accomplishing their goal.
Protestors then celebrated and told police not to return to their neighbourhood.
“Tenants and supporters successfully stopped evictions in Goodwood Park today; preventing an indigenous sister with mental and physical health concerns from being thrown in the street,” wrote People’s Defence, an organization of poor and working people fighting evictions in Toronto, on Instagram.
“12 squad cars with armed cops showed up to enforce the eviction. It is not under their jurisdiction to enforce evictions- as stated by @johntory himself. When it became clear that tenants were bold in their demand, both sheriffs and cops left the neighborhood,” they continued.
“Landlords and tenants are not equal here. For working class tenants an eviction means life or death. For corporate landlords it means flipping the unit for profit. Working class tenants unite, no covid evictions.”