Calgary, AB,

Update: Charges laid at protest

As police, our role is to facilitate safe, lawful and peaceful demonstrations in Calgary. We would like to thank the majority of demonstrators who were co-operative with police throughout yesterday’s protest.

We know that there have been several questions raised by community members following the charges that were laid yesterday. As the main protest was coming to a peaceful conclusion, approximately 100 demonstrators separated from them and attempted to block a major road, creating a dangerous situation between motorists and demonstrators. Several individuals within this group were not compliant with police and despite attempted negotiations, continued to impede traffic and escalate their behaviour, with some attempting to push through a line of police officers. 

As a result of these behaviours, the following individuals were charged.

  • In relation to three individuals pushing against police officers to break through the police line, Wassime TAHA, 30, Wafik KASSEM, 25, and Mohamed HAMDANIE, 25, all of Calgary, have each been charged with one count of assaulting a peace officer. They will next appear in court on Friday, Jan. 12, 2023.
  • In relation to interference as police attempted to make an arrest, Mervat HAMDANIE, 27, of Calgary has been charged with one count of obstruction of a peace officer. She will next appear in court on Friday, Jan. 12, 2023. During her arrest, her hijab became displaced, and officers immediately allowed this to be rectified.

As arrests were being made, a youth was also briefly taken into custody for his involvement in attempting to break through the police line. After his arrest, the youth’s parents were allowed behind the police line to de-escalate the situation. He was released without charges.

Despite four individuals being charged, there were hundreds of other demonstrators who showed up yesterday in a safe, lawful and peaceful manner. Managing a crowd of this size for a prolonged period is extremely dynamic and cannot be reduced to short video clips that you might see on social media. Public safety is paramount in these situations and our officers did an incredible job ensuring the demonstrations remained safe for all, despite escalating behaviours, and with minimal impact to traffic and neighboring Calgarians.

Supt. Joe Brar of the CPS Operational Support Division

We continue to appeal to all demonstrators to act responsibly and protest within the laws. Anyone who jeopardizes public peace, endangers others, or participates in illegal activities, will be held accountable for their actions. If anyone feels they were not dealt with appropriately by police, they can file a complaint through our Professional Standards Section.