Anti-police protestors take over Hamilton City Council meeting

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The protest started outside City Hall, before migrating inside. Participants demanded members vote down a proposed 6.7 per cent increase to the 2023 police budget. Photo credit: CBC/Samantha Beattie


Abolish the police protesters filled the Hamilton City Council chambers on Monday, February 6, disrupting delegations at a General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting that was discussing Hamilton’s 2023 police budget.

The group of about 100 people was originally protesting outside City Hall when they invaded the Council Chamber as a group, heckling, chanting, clapping, and banging on the walls and floor.

They were demanding that Councillors vote down a proposed 6.7 per cent increase to the Hamilton Police Service (HPS) budget. The increase would see $12 million extra tax dollars given to HPS in order to hire 13 new officers and 18 new civilian members, among funding other costs.

But it appears that the group of protesters also wanted more than just a rejection of the 2023 police budget, as they also chanted “Defund, Disarm, Dismantle, Abolish [the police].”

The group was led by Ward 2 Hamilton public school board (HWDSB) trustee Sabreina Dahab, who, according to The Public Record journalist Joey Coleman, yelled at councillors that their decisions “are killing people, every f***ing day.”

They also said that they would not leave until Council voted down the police budget, so the meeting had to be adjourned.

Other chants included “defund or resign” and “no justice, no peace.”

Protestors eventually left the building after over an hour of chants and heckling once it was clear that their attempts to derail the meeting were successful.

On Twitter after the incident, Ward 2 Councillor Cameron Kroetsch and Ward 3 Councillor Nrinder Nann both stated that they will be voting against the police budget.

According to Coleman, based on interviews and statements made, Ward 4 Councillor Tammy Hwang and Ward 13 Councillor Alex Wilson also committed to voting against the police budget increase.

The group of protesters are either members or supporters of loosely defined organizations called “The Hamilton Encampment Support Network” and “Defund HPS” that appear to have originated on social media.

The same two groups are believed to be responsible for the tearing down of the Sir John A. Macdonald statue in Hamilton’s Gore Park, the painting of “Defund the Police” on Hamilton’s Main Street, and the harassing of former Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger at his personal home.

Protestors showed up in the dark in 2020 at Eisenberger’s home and left a coffin in front of his house, saying that there was blood on his hands and demanding an immediate 50 per cent defunding of Hamilton Police, with the money instead going to “free” housing.

The protesters say that “they will come back again and again” into Hamilton City Hall until Council rejects the 2023 police budget.

Hamilton Council’s major police budget debate is tentatively scheduled for February 21,

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