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Boise meeting ended by protesters of tent city clear-out

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Boise City Council adjourned its meeting early when protesters against the city's weekend sweeps to clear out a homeless camp overran the meeting.

Demonstrators at Tuesday's meeting opposed the weekend sweeps that moved more than 100 homeless people out of a homeless camp. Protesters carried signs reading "Evict (Boise Mayor David) Bieter" and "Homeless displaced, Boise disgraced."

Bieter on Friday declared an emergency situation and police started the process of clearing the tent camp, which had been home to about 135 people. Bieter said the city's existing homeless shelters have enough space for everyone.

People living at the homeless camp said that they had different reasons for staying in tents instead of shelters. Some have dogs. Some have substance abuse or mental health problems. Some don't want to comply with shelters' lists of rules.

Bieter offered to meet with each of the protesters to help with the unrest, and did so Wednesday morning.

A range of people spoke before the meeting became unruly and the crowd refused to let Bieter speak, interrupting him and yelling insults. The mayor ended the meeting and left.

Jodi Peterson, a Boise homeless advocate and fundraiser for the Interfaith Sanctuary shelter, said the protest on Tuesday night caused a landowner to pull out of a plan that would have allowed about 20 homeless people to camp for three months.

She said business owners became concerned that when it came time for people to leave, the same protesters would condemn the landowner.

"The people that were trying to help me can't take the risk that this is going to fall on them," she said.


Information from: Idaho Statesman,

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