Bloody Sunday

BLOODY SUNDAY, 19 June 1938, ended a peaceful occupation of three downtown VANCOUVER buildings by protesters hoping to pressure the government into improving conditions for unemployed people. In Apr the provincial government had closed its winter RELIEF CAMPS for lack of funds and cut single men off relief. As a result hundreds of destitute transients converged on Vancouver. They were organized into brigades by Steve BRODIE, a Communist who had taken part in the ON-TO-OTTAWA TREK, and on May 20 about 1,200 men occupied the federal post office, the Georgia Hotel and the VANCOUVER ART GALLERY. Brodie wanted the police to arrest the protesters, which would tie up the courts and fill the jails to overflowing. Instead the situation developed into a standoff. The group occupying the hotel soon gave up, but the others remained. Finally the federal government lost patience. Early in the morning of "Bloody Sunday," troops of RCMP evicted the protesters. At the art gallery the men went peacefully, but at the post office police drove the men brutally into the streets with clubs and tear gas. Hundreds were injured. Outraged protesters rampaged through the downtown streets, breaking store windows and causing thousands of dollars' damage. Later in the day 10,000 angry citizens gathered at an outdoor meeting to protest police violence and demand Premier Duff PATTULLO's resignation.