As outrage and frustration filled Nanaimo’s Diana Krall Plaza Thursday, Randy Demoors fought back tears, suddenly overwhelmed with emotion. The father of eight, was the victim of a random attack in Nanaimo’s Victoria Crescent just six days ago — assaulted by a drug user outside a fast food restaurant he said, as he went in to grab food for his son.
“Random attack. Enough is enough. I should be walking down the street with no hesitation about anybody putting their hands on me,” said Demoors, who lost two front teeth in the attack.
Still recovering, business owner Clint Smith who was shot by a man in Nanaimo last month, also spoke at the rally.
“As much as these illegal actions are unacceptable, is anybody surprised? Since drug decrim, attacks on businesses and [attack on] residents in Nanaimo have increased. This is not our perception,” said Clint Smith.
A local mother named Ruth Taylor was also at the rally. She says that last week’s news story about a 5-year-old girl finding a bag of fentanyl on her school playground has hit too close to home.
READ MORE: ‘It’s terrifying’: Nanaimo girl, 5, brings home bag of fentanyl she found on school playground
“I’m very frustrated to see my children’s world getting smaller and smaller and smaller. We can’t walk down the street, we can’t use the library, or public parks” said Nanaimo resident Ruth Taylor.
“I’ve thought of moving, I’ve been thinking of moving for a long time,” said Nanaimo resident Jose Hope.
“This is a public from all walks of life, advocating for public safety and I never thought I’d have to advocate for public safety,” said Taylor.
Similar rallies were held in Victoria, Surrey, Kamloops, Prince George, Dawson Creek and Penticton, all calling on the provincial and federal governments to crack down on rising crime, homelessness and drug addiction.
B.C. Premier David Eby said Thursday that he hears these calls for help.
“I agree with those folks who are out there, they deserve to have safe communities and our government is on their side we’ve got their back,” said Ely.
As victims of crime like Demoors try to move on, from horrific moments that have stolen their sense of security where they live.