Calgary, AB,

One man charged after weekend protest

Police have charged one man in relation to an incident that occurred over the weekend at a downtown protest.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, at approximately 2 p.m., two groups of protestors gathered at the Calgary City Hall, 800 Macleod Trail S.E., to show support for Palestine and Israel amid the conflict in the Middle East.

After consultation with the Calgary Police Service Hate Crime Coordinator, the man has been charged with causing a disturbance, and hate motivation has been applied to the charge.

Ahead of the protest, our Diversity Resource Team and our Public Safety Unit met with members of both groups involved in the protest to ensure the safety of the participants, the public and our police officers and to discuss some of the language and signage observed at past protests.

During the protest a man took to the stage to speak to the large crowd in attendance. Through amplification and a public address system, he acknowledged this conversation with police. He then proceeded to repeatedly use an anti-Semitic phrase while encouraging the crowd to follow along.

Wesam COOLEY, 32, of Calgary, will next appear in court Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.

Hate speech, as defined in the Criminal Code, is complex and several contextual factors must be considered before charges can be laid. We work closely with the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service to review any potential hate crime behaviour at the protests to determine if those thresholds have been met.

We will continue to police behaviours, not beliefs.