Volunteer medics at Occupy Vancouver -- including an emergency room nurse and a first aid responder trained in the military -- are preparing for the worst as political rhetoric over the three-week-old encampment escalates.
After the death this weekend of Ashlie Gough, 23, in the camp, Mayor Gregor Robertson has come under pressure from his right-leaning opponent in the upcoming city election, Suzanne Anton, to remove Occupy Vancouver's tent city -- although the mayor said Sunday he was happy to let the protest continue, without people sleeping in tents. Stronger warnings from City Hall have medics at the encampment worried.
On Saturday a woman died in her tent at Occupy Vancouver and Vancouver's mayor has responded, not by questioning how the city is failing people in need of essential services such as food, housing, mental and physical healthcare, but by threatening legal action to end the encampment. Down the street, witnesses at the Missing Women Inquiry are recalling the deadly failure that resulted from the city using the courts to move other vulnerable group -- sex workers -- out of sight: a move now seen as escalating harm and contributing to deaths.
Can Mayor Robertson invoke safety and security to move the vulnerable residents of Occupy Vancouver to out-of-sight locations where they will again be denied the services they are receiving at Occupy Vancouver?