State House homeless encampment removed after legal fight

December 18, 2022 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Workers removed tents set up outside of Rhode Island’s State House on Saturday after a judge sided with Democratic Gov. Dan McKee in a lawsuit over the people who had been camping there to protest a lack of adequate housing.

The ACLU and the R.I. Center for Justice had sued on behalf of the group of more than two dozen people who have been camping, some for several months. McKee recently issued eviction notices and offered the campers shelter and transportation.

A Superior Court judge on Friday denied the groups’ effort to block McKee’s administration from removing the tents. The ACLU and R.I. Center for Justice said the ruling “fails to acknowledge the arbitrary and discriminatory way the state’s policies on overnight protest have been implemented.”

A spokesperson for McKee said Saturday that since Friday’s ruling, none of the campers had been arrested and no one was left in the tents Saturday morning when the clearing crew arrived.


McKee said last week that he activated the state National Guard to help run a warming station in Providence for the homeless. He has also said he’s investing to increase the number of shelter beds statewide, making money available for affordable housing efforts and allocating federal funds for more legal services for low-income households facing housing insecurity.