Students rally again for unauthorized street parties in Kingston

In anticipation of Saturday’s large rallies, police and first responders were brought to Kingston from across Ontario, including Durham, York Region, Vaughan, Belleville and Toronto.

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KINGSTON – Thousands of Queen’s University students took to the streets on Saturday as large, unauthorized street parties took place in Kingston’s college district for the second weekend in a row.

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The rallies were part of the ‘Fake Homecoming’, also known as ‘FOCO’ celebrations, and were strongly discouraged by the University, the City of Kingston and the Kingston Police after extensive destruction during the Fake Homecoming celebrations. return to the country the previous weekend.

In anticipation of the large gatherings, police and first responders were brought in from parts of Ontario including Durham, York Region, Vaughan, Belleville and Toronto.

According to a Kingston Police tweet, an officer was injured and taken to Kingston General Hospital. No details were provided as to the cause or nature of the injury.

A strong police presence was visible in the area, starting early Saturday, with officers stationed at major crossroads and the mounted unit patrolling.

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Early in the day, smaller gatherings were spread throughout the college district, with many students celebrating with friends in their own homes, though there was a noticeable increase in foot traffic as students socialized between the houses.

The street party quickly escalated as around 1,000 students made their way to Aberdeen Street shortly after 2 p.m., and it was soon impassable for car traffic.

Students gather on William Street in the University District of Kingston on Saturday.
Students gather on William Street in the University District of Kingston on Saturday. Photo by Brigid Goulem /Postmedia

The City of Kingston promptly warned drivers to avoid high traffic areas in the University District due to the large number of revelers walking there.

At around 2:30 p.m., Kingston Police and the City of Kingston declared an aggravated nuisance party on Aberdeen Street under the mayor’s interim orders and students were evacuated from the area. Under the emergency order, students who do not comply are subject to an administrative monetary penalty of $ 2,000.

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While Aberdeen Street was quickly cleared, large gatherings were pushed back to other areas. At 3 p.m., an aggravated nuisance party was declared on Earl Street between Aberdeen and University streets and the police decided to block the area.

A large contingent of police officers, reinforced by the Toronto Mounted Police unit, could be seen walking down Earl Street, bringing the students onto University Avenue. Once the street was cleared, no one was allowed to enter the area.

Police clear University Avenue in Earl Street on Saturday.
Police clear University Avenue in Earl Street on Saturday. Photo by Brigid Goulem /Postmedia

William Street, between University Avenue and Division Street, was also cleaned up and blocked off and, according to an officer, even students residing in houses on the cleaned streets were not allowed to return home.

At 5 p.m., many students returned home and Kingston Police announced the aggravated nuisance party had been lifted in the University District.

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Although no official figure has yet been released by police, at least one arrest was observed in the neighborhood in the early afternoon around Johnson and Division streets.

Despite the arrest and increased police presence throughout the weekend, the celebrations in the University District of Kingston appeared to reflect an acknowledgment of the problems with the rallies the previous weekend.

Across Victoria Park, large posters were hung condemning the misogynistic posters that had gained national attention. One poster read “Please take these messages for what they are: a direct reaction to the expression of misogyny throughout the student district.” Another read, “Please be aware of the decisions you make at the expense of others,” and a third said, “Please hold each other accountable. “

Police from the Durham Region blockade the corner of Earl and Aberdeen Streets in the University District of Kingston on Saturday.
Police from the Durham Region blockade the corner of Earl and Aberdeen Streets in the University District of Kingston on Saturday. Photo by Brigid Goulem /Postmedia

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