Victoria's David Arthur Johnston has lost considerable weight during
his latest three-week hunger strike while serving a 60day jail
sentence, his mother said Tuesday.
Johnston has regularly been arrested since 2004 for sleeping in
public spaces and he refuses to eat while in jail. A court order
from December prevents him from erecting tents in Centennial Square
for one year.
He received a 60-day sentence for breaching that order last month
and friends and family say he might not survive, even if released
early for good behaviour after 40 days. He was arrested Oct. 25
after pitching a tent for six days where Occupy Victoria protesters
had set up their encampment on Oct. 15.
Johnston was already looking gaunt when he appeared in court via
video from the Vancouver Island Regional Correction Centre on Nov.
2. He looks even worse, Lea Johnston said, after 21 days.
"I don't worry, it's against God's laws," she said from outside the
jail on Wilkinson Road. "I have so much faith, I could move
Lea flew in from Blackfalds, Alta., Sunday morning and went down to
show support for Occupy Victoria protesters by mid-afternoon before
going to visit her son.
Johnston only drinks water while in prison, but all he talks about
is food and the meals he wants to eat when he gets out, his mother
said. "All he watches on TV are food programs," she said.
Lea knows people criticize her son, but she firmly stands behind his
beliefs. Johnston has built a reputation for being Victoria's right-
to-sleep protester since first getting arrested in 2004. He has
routinely served sentences without eating.
In his most recent case, city lawyer Troy DeSouza asked the court to
impose a sentence of four to six months, saying Johnston will only
breach court order after court order.
Lea knows her son could die in prison, but with a little faith he
might make it, she said. "I hope so. I know his mind can make it,
but I'm not sure his body can."
Johnston survived a 36day fast in late 2006, when Supreme Court
Justice Robert Bauman described him as a man of principle and a
spiritual man who could be trusted to keep his word to stay out of
the grounds of St. Ann's Academy.
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