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Feb 7, 22

Boise Tent Demonstration Remains Strong in Face of Continued Police and Far-Right Harassment

Report on the ongoing situation in Boise, Idaho, as houseless demonstrators continue to face down harassment and attacks from the far-Right and police.

Folks are three weeks into the tent demonstration in so-called Boise, Idaho. Lasting through multiple police raids, attacks from local fascist groups, and a whirlwind of misrepresentation in local media; folks are war weathered but are regaining strength and pressing forward.

In the early morning hours of Friday, February 4th, 2022 folks began to hear the soft and eerie hum of police drones flying overhead, followed by the invasion of 40 Idaho state police filling the area. Cops started opening tents and grabbing whatever they could find that could be used to sustain warmth for the protesters who have been occupying the space. They stole more blankets, sleeping bags, people’s clothing, harm reduction items (clean sharps, sharps containers, narcan – harm reduction items kept at camp in case anyone stops by or comes through that needs safer items for addictions/substance use) chairs, heaters, and propane and put it all in a trailer they parked nearby.

Many protesters had left the space to go about their day and get breakfast when the raid took place and the violent arm of the state (cops) used that as an opportunity to declare that any items they found in tents that weren’t occupied in that moment were ‘unclaimed property’ and used that as justification of theft. They forced people that were in their tents to pack their items up and put them in bags to take off the premises. Cops also arrested four of the protesters in the space as a power move and to intimidate and harass protesters. They had clearly done their homework and knew which folks present had warrants, almost all of them were warrants for failure to appear from previous camping in public citations. Three of the arrested were immediately bailed out by Boise Mutual Aid (BMA), but one remains stuck inside due to other open cases he is dealing with (BMA is channeling donations onto his books to show him solidarity and support). The cops told one of the BMA supporters that, “I know where you live.” The cops previously detailed items they took onto evidence receipts so that people can come back to claim the stolen property, but this time they were caught on camera taking many items not found on any receipts.

Further, local media was present during the raid and have been reporting false information to the larger community; collaborating with the state and local law enforcement agencies to lead the general public to believe that the cops only picked up trash, that everyone protesting is using the space for illicit activity, and/or that there are no folks experiencing houselessness and the whole thing is just an attempt to further a ‘communist agenda.’ They are using language and misinformation to cover up the audacious actions of local government and cops who are stealing property, that people rely on for survival in the below freezing weather, from folks who have nothing. They’re trying to make homelessness invisible, which is impossible. They’re trying to control and punish folks for experiencing poverty and houselessness.

Another stressor for folks at the encampment is the use of bathrooms. There was a porta potty on one side of the building that was first locked and then removed. Supporters have offered to get porta potties for the space, but were informed that the state won’t allow it. Then state officials accused folks of having urine/feces present in media interviews after the raid (which were also falsifications of information).

Meanwhile, fascists have continued to harass folks at the space – some come armed and will stand around open carrying to intimidate protesters, some come through filming and documenting the protesters and protest supporters. All observed fascist activity has been recorded and documented.

Regardless of all the obstacles, the efforts of demonstrators to demand resources, dignity, an end to police harassment, and space to exist pushes forward, unwavering in power and persistence. Sharpening demands, strategizing, and paying mind to restoring energy is revitalizing the spirit of resistance to oppression. There have also been supporters locally and throughout the country connecting with those on the ground and offering support and solidarity, which has been a heavy relief.

As the protesters remain steadfast in below freezing temperatures, with their heating items stolen again by the State, legislators and officials across the street count their money and celebrate their surplus of over a billion dollars for the year while making plans to cut taxes for the highest earners in the state and simultaneously how to successfully complete the next raid of survival items from those living on the streets.

If we want to demand a better world, the time is now.

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