OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 News) – A peaceful demonstration is happening right now, in downtown Ogden in response to the homeless encampment that was dismantled by local law enforcement and other agencies last week.
Near 33rd Street, right outside of Lantern House, an encampment occupied the sidewalk and parts of the road. Ogden City Police, the Weber-Morgan Health Department, and other city and county agencies removed it.
“Our crime rate went up there in that area, including aggravated assaults, robbery, we also had fires that were on the street and the sidewalk,” said Brian Eynon, the spokesperson for Ogden Police Department.
Ogden Police leaders say unsheltered people were given just over 24 hours to leave. Malik Dayo, a community activist in Ogden says he set up a peaceful demonstration, after finding suggested CDC guidelines for encampments were not followed.
“They were hidden on 33rd street where nobody could see them. We want the public to see hey, this is a problem that we have in Ogden we can’t hide it, have to deal with it, it’s here, look at it,” said Dayo.
CDC Guidelines for encampments during the pandemic suggest, “clearing encampments can cause people to disperse throughout the community and increases the potential for infectious disease to spread.”
“We followed the CDC guidelines to the best of our abilities, our public works department was in a full protective suit and coverings, everyone was wearing masks, all the officers were wearing masks,” said Eynon.
Ogden Police leaders say the Lantern House had available beds during the clearing and were pointed in the direction of resources.
“Some of them had some resources they were given, before they dispersed the group, but the majority of them didn’t have anywhere to go,” said Dayo.
The demonstration will go on until 9 PM and locals have to stay away from Christmas Village and public access areas.
“I know it’s going to be cold out there and it’s going to be snowing, but that’s just for 5 hours, imagine these people who live like that everyday,” added Dayo.
For more information on CDC guidelines: People Experiencing Homelessness | COVID-19 | CDC
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