Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homeless, others protest city's 'no camping' ordinance

Homeless, others protest city's 'no camping' ordinance: "The protest was organized by the Free to Camp Coalition in reaction to the ordinance, enacted in 1997, that prohibits erecting shelters, laying down bedding for the purpose of sleeping, storing belongings, starting a fire, cooking or living in a vehicle in Tempe's public places. The protesters referred to Tempe Mayor Neil Giuliano as well in one of their chants.
ASU plant biology postgraduate Elizabeth Venable, who coordinated the protest, said she wanted to 'deal explicitly' with the criminalization of homelessness.
'People aren't addressing the political issues and the ways the state punishes [the homeless] or the ways people become homeless,' she said. She added that the ordinance banned activities 'normal people' can do without thinking that they're 'immoral' or illegal.
'But sitting doesn't hurt anyone and sleeping doesn't hurt anyone, and they're the basic things that people need to do to stay alive,' Venable said. 'The message that [the homeless] are getting is that homeless people shouldn't be able to stay alive. Like they're not worthy of living.'"

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