Friday, October 30, 2015

Waking the Freedom Sleepers

On September 22 community members protesting the criminalization of homelessness in Santa Cruz returned to city hall for their eleventh sleepout. A sizable group again made it through a night of sleep at city hall, though Santa Cruz police woke everyone up as a group at about 5:30am.

Police have conducted regular raids on the sleepouts since they began on July 4, but they employed a new tactic on September 22. They informed individuals that the city needed the area cleared in order to steam clean the sidewalk, and that workers would be arriving within the hour. All of the sleepers complied, and as the protesters were eating breakfast in front of city hall, the sidewalk was eventually steam cleaned.

Sleeping next to the flagpole at Santa Cruz city hall

Police cite person sleeping next to flagpole during the first raid of the evening

Police and security guards during the first raid

Protesters line the sidewalk as police conduct the raid

The city rents lighting units to dissuade the sleepers

Freedom Sleeper

Police wake sleepers at 5:30am during the second raid of the evening, telling individuals they needed to move to accomodate the steam cleaning of the sidewalks

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