A demonstration will be held Thursday on the steps of the Berkeley courthouse asking city officials not to enforce a California law that makes it a crime to sleep outdoors.
The demonstration, sponsored by Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency, Poor Magazine, Street Spirit, Copwatch and others, is scheduled three days before the closure of the Emergency Winter shelter at the Oakland Army Base, which has provided shelter for 50 of Berkeley’s homeless each night since October.
The demonstration is also designed to call attention to the second arrest of Ken Moshesh, who is currently facing jail time for sleeping outdoors. Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency spokesperson Darren Noy said Moshesh is contending that arresting or citing people for sleeping outside in unconstitutional.
“Organizers of the peaceful, nonviolent demonstration on April 12 are hopeful that once other members of the community and the City Council become aware of the terrible harm of California Penal Code 647j, they will act quickly to restrict its enforcement,” according to a press statement from the organizers.
The demonstration will be held at noon on the courthouse steps at 2120 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.