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Feb 14, 22

Police Continue Harassment and Repression as Tent Protest Enters Week Four in Boise, Idaho

Report on continuing police harassment and repression of ongoing tent protests in Boise, Idaho.

Today marks 4 weeks of ongoing protest across from the Capitol building in so-called Boise, Idaho. The state and city continue to prove their insistence on criminalizing poverty and doing all they can to crush resistance. Another raid occurred, with tons of state troopers stealing people’s warming property, but this time also stole tents and sign making materials. They also arrested one of the protest participants who sleeps outside, citing him for ‘disorderly conduct’ during the raid. He arrived back at the protest and found they had taken everything he had, and they still have not returned it. They ticketed some and said at the next raid they will be giving out citations to anyone who has private property that looks to be camping gear (blankets, sleeping bags, heaters, etc), as camping is “prohibited” in the injunction that was filed for the space 10 years ago.

Despite the raid spirits remained high as people and community, once again, came together to clean up the mess the police made and replace survival items. Folks who had previously left the space due to feeling unsafe because of police harassment began returning.

However, the state, being no longer pleased by their monotonous display of repression, returned for more. This time they told folks they needed to move the entire protest to another, smaller, space on the grounds. Some folks agreed to it, some folks attempted to resist it but were told that they would be given consequences if they stayed. Exhausted and wanting to avoid further harassment by cops, folks moved back to the original spot. Law enforcement officers report the reason they demanded a weekly move is to protect the life of the dormant grass, also reporting that in about a month they’ll be turning on the sprinklers in the area.

There was a solidarity concert organized and put on by local supporters in front of City Hall on Friday, but most folks were stuck moving stuff at the protest and were angered and irritated by state repression. Still, the solidarity concert was well attended, some folks experiencing houselessness were able to share their experiences after the music and it morphed into a march demonstration that lasted about 45 minutes. People were heard chanting “Housing is a human right” and “Stop the raids, stop the raids, we will say it unafraid.”

Later that night, into the early morning hours of Saturday, folks outside reported that drones were flying overhead and dropping stink bombs onto tents, which were reported to cause some breathing issues. The area is a no fly zone and the only drones that are allowed in the area are drones used by law enforcement (and drones that are approved by state application process). This is horrifying if it is state/law enforcement drones, which have been constantly flying overhead throughout the week for intel purposes, because that would make it state sanctioned bio terrorism targeted on folks simply due to their economic status and experience of poverty/houselessness.

Remains of stink bombs

Pulling back and taking a look at national responses to houselessness and poverty, it was brought to our attention that in Sacramento, CA. a candidate running for Mayor hopes to pass legislation to make it illegal to refuse services if someone is sleeping on the streets. This would effectively remove the option to consent to what one’s life looks like if one is experiencing poverty and houselessness, leaving choice as an option only available to those who have wealth or are housed.

It will take a nationally collective effort to prevent the further criminalization of poverty/houselessness. Law enforcement and city/state officials are communicating and organizing to get ahead of, and crush, the ingenuity and creativity of folks who are resisting the criminalization of poverty in the so-called United States. It would benefit us greatly to continue building and solidifying our bridges of solidarity with one another across state and city lines to strategize and stand in solidarity with one another; together we are unstoppable.

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