Politics

Two more arrested as protests continue in Calgary public parks


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Police arrested two people on Saturday for violating a temporary injunction aimed at limiting disruptive demonstrations as hundreds of protesters continued to march in three parts of the city’s central areas against remaining COVID-19 restrictions.

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One person was arrested for two outstanding warrants while another individual was arrested for breaching the court order by honking horns excessively or making other loud noises, police said in a press release.

“Our aim again today (Saturday) 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,” said deputy chief Chad Tawfik in a press release.

The injunction, issued March 18, prohibits blocking road traffic and sidewalks, commercial sales and operating vendor stands without a permit. It also bans excessive horn honking or using an amplification system.

Despite the injunction, around 200 demonstrators filled Harley Hotchkiss Gardens around 2 p.m. The group grew to around 300 people over the course of the afternoon as protesters who’d previously gathered at Prince’s Island Park moved to join them. Loudspeakers amplified the voices of people that addressed the crowd, or music from performers.

Police and Bylaw officers kept a close watch on the Freedom rally held at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens in Calgary on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Police and Bylaw officers kept a close watch on the Freedom rally held at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens in Calgary on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

Speeches lasted until around 3:30 p.m., when demonstrators either went back to their cars or continued a small rally of around 100 people at city hall. The majority of protesters left around 4 p.m.

“To our knowledge, no injuries or property damage occurred during the demonstrations,” the release reads.

Police and city bylaw officers issued several tickets over the course of the demonstrations. Calgary police issued 19 summons under the Traffic Safety Act, including 14 for excessive use of a horn, and additional offences for expired registration and equipment violations. Police say more tickets are expected.

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City bylaw officers issued one summons to a protester for violating the court injunction. Twenty-five other tickets were issued, including 23 tickets for excessive horn honking, one for the illegal use of a drone, and one ticket for operating a business booth without a licence.

At Hotchkiss gardens, several speakers voiced disdain for vaccination requirements to travel, the fear that COVID-19 health measures could be brought back, and restrictions limiting protests in place under the current injunction.

Police and Bylaw officers kept a close watch on the Freedom rally held at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens in Calgary on Saturday, March 26, 2022.
Police and Bylaw officers kept a close watch on the Freedom rally held at Harley Hotchkiss Gardens in Calgary on Saturday, March 26, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk /DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia

“We’ve all come here on a Saturday afternoon with the knowledge that we might very well get arrested for speaking out against our elected leaders,” said Nathan Ray, who told the crowd he works with Canada Post.

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“We believe in fighting this battle of flesh and spirit not necessarily because we’re going to win. But because, regardless of the outcome, it is the right thing to do.”

Tawfik said police anticipate these demonstrations will continue in Calgary.

“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.”

Police arrested six people on March 18 during the protests at Central Memorial Park and outside city hall for breach of the injunction as well as assaulting a police officer. Another person involved in the protests was arrested on outstanding warrants.





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