Toronto Star

Desmond Cole among protesters escorted from Hamilton City Hall


A crowd of supporters shouted “shame, shame” as demonstrat­ors calling for the police to be defunded were removed one by one — each accompanie­d by at least four uniformed police officers — from Hamilton City Hall on Wednesday evening.

By 8:30 p.m., about 20 people had been escorted off the property, some holding blue tickets in their hands.

“I was just arrested by @HamiltonPo­lice inside Hamilton city hall,” tweeted author Desmond Cole, who had arrived earlier to lead a workshop with the protesters.

Earlier in the day, members of the group, which has been camped outside city hall for 10 days demanding less city funding for police and more funding for housing, staged a sit-in on the building’s main floor, demanding a meeting with Hamilton’s mayor.

“To me, it’s a compromise,” said organizer Sarah Jama on Wednesday afternoon. “We came inside because he refused to meet us outside … what is he so afraid of?”

On Wednesday, the group received a letter signed by Mayor Fred Eisenberge­r and city manager Janette Smith stating they “are open to meeting with two identified representa­tives” from the group.

“This meeting is not a media or livestream event, rather a conversati­on,” the letter reads.

But the group is pushing for a public meeting, not private.

“We said from the beginning that we want to include the community in this conversati­on, we are also members of the community,” said Koubra Haggar, one of the group’s members.

“We will not stand for a private meeting with the mayor so that he dodges accountabi­lity.”

The group has been camped since Nov. 23, and have no plans to leave.

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