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Defund HPS demonstrators arrested at Hamilton City Hall for trespassing

Last Updated Dec 2, 2020 at 11:31 pm EST

Hamilton City Hall. Photo credit: Google Maps

Hamilton Police say they charged 18 supporters of the group “Defund HPS” with trespassing after they allegedly refused to leave Hamilton City Hall.

Canadian journalist, author and activist Desmond Cole said on Twitter he was among the group arrested by police at City Hall.

Cole said they were there to demand Hamilton’s Mayor Fred Eisenberger to publicly meet with Defund HPS. According to his tweets, the group was offered a private meeting with the Mayor but only with two representatives.

The group has been calling for police funds to be redirected to deal with what they say is a housing crisis in the city.

Police would not confirm Cole was among those arrested.

Police say they were called to City Hall around 4:30 p.m. after the demonstrators were reportedly asked to leave the building by security who then called police.

The group was originally six individuals who wished to be granted a public meeting with the Mayor of Hamilton but later grew to 19 individuals in the lobby.

Police said the situation was peaceful and the demonstrators were charged with failing to leave the premises when directed which is a $65 fine.

According to tweets from @DefundHPS, demonstrators remained outside as of 10 p.m.

An encampment had also been set up last week as part of the group’s effort to push for police funds to be reallocated.

Last week, Hamilton police said they charged the group’s organizer with failure to comply with provincial limits on outdoor gatherings.

There were between 80 to 100 people outside city hall that day, police said.

With files from The Canadian Press