07/06/2013 08:04 EDT | Updated 09/05/2013 05:12 EDT

Pidgin Protesters Target New Vancouver Restaurant


Anti-gentrification protestors who have held ongoing protests outside Pidgin restaurant in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside are targeting another newly opened restaurant in the neighbourhood.

The protests started last night outside a Latin American restaurant, Cuchillo, on Powell Street near Main Street and are expected to continue tonight.

Protesters are arguing businesses such as Pidgin and Cuchillo are pushing poor people out of the neighbourhood.

"It's a form of exclusion," said protester Tami Starlight. "People can't afford to eat here. Everything around it gets over-priced. Same with the land, the rents go up. There's this ripple effect, that everything goes up."

Starlight said newly refurbished buildings in the Downtown Eastside, like the Woodward's building and the iconic butcher shop, Save on Meats, has had a similar "ripple" effect on the neighbourhood.

- Read more about Save on Meats and the DTES neighbourhood

But many restaurant operators in the DTES say they are working to make improvements in the low-income community.

On Saturday, Cuchillo co-owner John Cooper wanted to focus on the restaurant and not the protesters gathering outside his business.

"We spent a lot of time we spent over a year on this project. We've put all of our effort into this place," he said. "We've had all of our friends building, throwing lumber in this place, all helping out to make this sort of thing happen."

Vancouver police say they spent last night monitoring the protestors and reminding them not to do anything that breaks the law.

- Vancouver police arrest second Pidgin protestor

Police have arrested two protestors who participated in demonstrations the Pidgin restaurant.

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