Response to Downtown Demonstrations - Update
Significant police and partner resources were coordinated this week and today to ensure demonstrations in Calgary remained safe and minimized disruption to downtown residents and visitors.
In the week leading up to the demonstrations, Police Liaison Teams attempted to negotiate with all protest organizers to come up with options that allowed for freedom of speech, but with as little impact to the local community as possible. Throughout these discussions, organizers were reminded of the Court of Queens Bench Injunction and the possible repercussions for breaching it.
Today, Saturday, March 26, 2022, the main demonstrations occurred at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens, near the Calgary Court Centre, Prince’s Island Park (both Group A) and Central Memorial Park (Group B) starting shortly before 2 p.m. At approximately 2:30 p.m., demonstrators dispersed from Prince’s Island Park and some moved to Harley Hotchkiss Gardens. At peak times there were approximately 300 demonstrators at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens and under 20 at Central Memorial Park. At approximately 3 p.m., some of the Harley Hotchkiss Park demonstrators walked along Stephen Avenue to the Municipal Plaza abiding by the rules of the injunction while on the move and at the plaza. Approximately 100 people gathered at this location before the majority dispersed at 4 p.m. The Central Memorial Park demonstration wrapped up at approximately 2:45 p.m.
During the day, two arrests were made. One person was arrested for two outstanding warrants, and one person was arrested for breaching the injunction order by the unnecessary sounding of horns or other audible warning devices on motor vehicles or of other noise making devices. Both of these individuals were associated with Group A.
Calgary Community Standards (Bylaw) issued one summons for violating the injunction (to someone from Group A) and 25 tickets, including 23 for excessive horn-honking, one for illegal use of a drone and one ticket for operating a business booth without a license.
Under the Traffic Safety Act, CPS issued nineteen summonses including fourteen summons for excessive use of a horn and additional offences for expired registration and equipment violations. Further tickets are anticipated based on evidence gathered at the demonstrations.
One vehicle was towed to the impound lot for not being registered.
To our knowledge, no injuries or property damage occurred during the demonstrations.
Although specific officer numbers are not released to protect police tactics, several teams from the Service were used to police the demonstrations in conjunction with our partners. This included members from the Patrol, Public Safety Unit, Beats and Mountain Bike Unit, HAWC, Traffic Section, Diversity Resource Team, Major Events and Emergency Management Section, as well as investigative resources. Once again, many of these resources were required to ensure compliance with the Injunction and public safety rather than being deployed for other proactive community policing initiatives. Resources were also deployed by our partners with The City including Calgary Community Standards (Bylaw), Calgary Roads, Calgary Transit, and Calgary Parking Authority.
“Our aim again today was to reduce the impact of these demonstrations on the residents and visitors to our downtown core. This was largely achieved thanks to the collective efforts of our officers and partner agencies,” says Deputy Chief Chad Tawfik. “We anticipate these demonstrations will continue in Calgary as they have in other cities in Canada. We vow to do all we can to ensure the rights for those to protest do not negatively impact others in the city of Calgary. We would like to thank those involved who were compliant before and during the protests.”