Response to Downtown Demonstrations
Calgary police officers, with partners from The City, have been working throughout the day to manage large and disparate demonstrations in the downtown core.
As outlined in the public presentation yesterday, our aim was to ensure public safety and reduce the impact of these demonstrations along 17th Avenue and our Beltline community using a number of tactics, including the recently obtained Injunction Order.
We are pleased that the demonstrations avoided impact on 17th Avenue, and passed without any injuries or property damage. After speaking with the demonstrators, we permitted them to move from their staging area to a more appropriate protesting location at City Hall shortly after 2 p.m. By using the sidewalks, they did not breach the Injunction Order, but moved to a location more appropriate for a demonstration than in previous weeks.
Once at City Hall, they used amplifying equipment in order to address the crowd which was permissible under the current Injunction Order. The protest ended peacefully at City Hall and approximately one hour later, the demonstrators headed back toward Central Memorial Park.
Earlier in the day, a second smaller group (Group B) of approximately 100 people gathered at Lougheed House. This group split over a period of time, with some moving to Central Memorial Park and some to City Hall. Officers on scene at both locations worked to ensure the two groups did not clash. At times, the exchanges between the groups were extremely hostile and tense. Police, however, managed to keep the groups apart and cleared the crowds at Central Memorial Park to bring the event to a safe conclusion at approximately 5 p.m.
During the day six arrests were made for various offences including breach of the injunction and assaulting a peace officer. Ten traffic tickets were issued under the Traffic Safety Act, as well as one vehicle taken off the road for several failures under the commercial vehicle regulations. This occurred outside City Hall and involved a large decorated semi truck that was incessantly sounding the horn in violation of the Injunction Order. This vehicle was later towed. In addition, our partners at Bylaw issued three tickets and more parking enforcement numbers are anticipated at a later date. We have also established an investigative team dedicated to following through with charges connected to those arrested, as well as any additional charges that can be laid based on evidence obtained through a variety of means.
“All of this work required a significant coordinated effort with our City partners,” says Chief Constable Mark Neufeld. “These are partners that we have been engaged and working with for many months. However, the recent escalation and change in approach and cooperation of organizers led to what you witnessed this weekend; a strong effort by a team of dedicated police officers as well as our partners at The City. This has been the culmination of a lot of heavy lifting by our planning and legal teams. These efforts will continue as we work together to bring peace back to the Beltline and surrounding communities. We also thank members of the local community that cooperated with police and helped us to bring this to a peaceful resolution.”
A comprehensive debrief will take place to ensure any lessons from this are applied in any future demonstrations.