Multiple incidents reported on opening weekend of World Police and Fire Games

The World Police & Fire Games in Winnipeg, July 2023. Arsalan Saeed / Global News

The presence of the World Police & Fire Games in Winnipeg was met with graffiti and protests over its opening weekend.

Winnipeg police say they responded to two incidents related to the games, and a third involving one of its participants over the last several days.

On Sunday evening a two-hour protest popped up outside the games’ Athlete’s Village, located near the CN Stage and Field at The Forks.

Approximately 100 demonstrators stood outside the barricades, shouting at athletes to go home and calling on police to search a Manitoba landfill for the remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris, two murdered Indigenous women whose remains are believed to be buried there.

Police say the group attempted to push through the village’s front gate and some laid on the ground in front of the entrance.

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Protesters used red paint to leave handprints on the gate and fence and a brick was thrown at a parked police cruiser, smashing its windshield. No one was hurt.

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Earlier that day police went to St. Vital Park where graffiti was spray painted along the 6.5-mile loop used for the WPFG’s half-marathon route. A press release says the roadway, walking paths and portable bathrooms were tagged with more than 65 phrases using profanity and acronyms used by police abolitionist groups. Investigation continues.

The prior day, police say a man in his 50s participating in the games was hit with bear spray while trying to intervene in an altercation between two women at a fast food restaurant. A 25-year-old woman sprayed the other woman, then the man when he approached them.

Officers located the woman in the 100 block of Marion and arrested her. She was charged with assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon and released on an undertaking.

The 10-day event has drawn criticism from multiple groups, including some questioning the decision to allow Hong Kong officers to compete in the games. Approximately 8,000 athletes from over 70 countries were expected to participate.

The games’ closing ceremonies are on Aug. 6.

Click to play video: 'World Police and Fire Games kick off this week'
World Police and Fire Games kick off this week

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