Weekly rallies are expected to continue in Calgary’s core this weekend, and police are reminding those taking part that a protest injunction remains in effect.
“Our Police Liaison Teams are continuing to communicate with protest organizers. Our plans are flexible and will adapt depending on crowd dynamics,” A Calgary Police spokesperson said in a statement to Global News.
“Officers will be in place this weekend to manage public safety. Temporary road closures and no-stopping or parking zones may be in effect.”
The injunction, which went into effect March 18, prohibits protesters from:
- Blocking traffic on roads and on sidewalks, including walking in the middle of roadways and preventing vehicles and pedestrians from lawfully passing by or accessing amenities in the area.
- Gathering in a park which unreasonably disturbs the use or enjoyment of the park. This includes hosting events without a permit.
- Conducting commercial activity in a park, including the operation of vendor stands in Central Memorial Park or other areas without a permit.
- The unnecessary sounding of horns or other audible warning devices, including air horns and megaphones.
The order also gives police the power to arrest anyone contravening it and hold that person in custody until they appear in court.
The City of Calgary applied for the temporary injunction after a tense stand-off between anti-mandate protesters and counter-protesters in the Beltline on March 12.
Police arrested six people the following week – five for breaching the injunction, one for assaulting an officer.
Rallies have been held in Central Memorial Park, typically followed by a march down 17 Avenue. This week, organizers are planning to gather at Olympic Plaza, across the street from city hall.
“Efforts will be made to stay in compliance with the injunction, despite our opposition to it,” protest spokesperson Jake Eskesen said in a statement. “The protests will foreseeably continue until the injunction and remaining restrictions are dropped.”
However, Devlin Gannon won’t be able to attend.
Gannon, who has attended many of the weekly protests and documented the events, was one of the people arrested last weekend.
He was charged with assaulting an officer and breaching the injunction. As part of his conditions, he cannot enter the Beltline nor the city’s downtown core.
Gannon maintains his innocence and said he was speaking to an officer on scene at Central Memorial Park last weekend when he was arrested.
“They’re not saying anything, not one: ‘You’re under arrest,’ not one: ‘You’re being detained,’ nothing,” Gannon said. “Four or five officers dive in, take me to the ground, pull me in every direction.”
According to Gannon, he did not resist arrest or push any of the officers, and says that officers used force, including a chokehold and a taser, during his arrest.
“It’s sad,” Gannon told Global News. “I’ve been here, born and raised in Calgary, and I could say confidently that I could have never imagined something like that happening in the park, let alone to peaceful people.”
Gannon said he plans to fight the charges in court and has video documenting the arrest.
Meanwhile, another event is planned in Central Memorial Park on Saturday hosted by Community Solidarity YYC.
“We’re just encouraging people to come out, quiet socializing, we’re going to have coffee, we’re going to have some snacks for people,” Community Solidarity YYC spokesperson Hunter Yaworski said.
“Just bring a book, enjoy the park that you haven’t been able to enjoy on Saturdays for quite some time now.”