Victoria police and the city’s mayor are expressing concern about a downtown street party planned for Friday night, because organizers are refusing to communicate about safety plans.
The organizers are responding by calling the city and police “haters” in online posts.
The department took to Facebook this weekend, saying they’ve been trying to reach the people behind the Victoria DIY Street Party page, only to see their messages and similar ones from the city deleted and the department blocked.
In response, party organizers took to their blog writing a post calling the police “haters,” writing “Coordinating with the City means organizing on their terms. Terms that prioritize gentrification over community.”
Mayor Lisa Helps says she has also tried to contact party organizers to ask about safety plans for the event and got no response.
“I mean this is the challenge we don’t know what the plans are,” said Helps. “When we have public spaces filled up with lots of people we want everyone to be safe, we want it to go well, so really my request to the organizers is let us know what you’re planning and let us work with you to make your event a success.”
CHEK News reached out to the organizers of Victoria DIY Street Party. They wouldn’t agree to talk on camera, but did agree to take questions by email.
“We are not liaising with the cops and the City out of respect for the events, people, and communities they marginalize,” they write. “We want to demonstrate that people can do great things when they come together. Our message is definitely about freedom and unity, but also protest.”
The city has seen successful downtown street parties in the past, including several put on by a Vancouver-based team called Decentralized Dance Party, which has organized similar events in cities all over the world.
Decentralized Dance Party co-founder Gary Lachance says they work best when police and officials are informed
“Our approach has always been to work with them, the best thing ever is when you see cops dancing with people and using their sirens and lights to get the party going crazier,” he said.
With nearly 3,000 people saying that plan to go to the party on Facebook and organizers insisting they will go ahead, Helps still hopes someone will get in touch and work with officials to make sure safety plans are in place.
“We want to have great events in our public spaces, we want to work with folks but we can’t do that if they drop us a line or give a phone call.”