With another round of protests in response to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East planned for Sunday at Calgary’s Civic Square, the Calgary Police Service has a message for people planning to attend.
“As police, our role is to facilitate lawful, peaceful and safe protests while minimizing impact on the community,” said CPS Supt. Joe Brar said Friday. “We have a responsibility to protect participants, the community and the police by striving to ensure the safety of all. »
Brar said police have clear expectations of protesters when they exercise their right to demonstrate legally.
“Prohibiting the safe movement of motor vehicles on major arterial roads and blocking access routes to necessary services will be dealt with by our officers under applicable law,” he said.
Recent protests have spread to Macleod Trail, with some protesters arrested after sitting in the middle of the intersection with Fourth Avenue Southeast. In another protest, a police-escorted march temporarily halted traffic on the Fifth Avenue Viaduct and the Reconciliation Bridge.
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“In general, everyone has been cooperative. But like I said, some people choose not to cooperate and we will deal with those people,” the police commissioner said.
The protests have generally been divided between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian lines, but Brar said people from other movements have participated.
He said Israeli airstrikes that followed the end of a week-long truce would likely influence Sunday’s events.
“What happens overseas generally tends to impact what happens here in Canada and in Calgary,” Brar said. “The ceasefire has ended. Knowing this, we have worked closely with the organizers to ensure that we always have a common vision for this (protest).”
Police are asking for patience from Calgarians who are not directly involved in the protests and urged people to monitor Calgary police social media for updates.
“During any large gathering in a city centre, we expect temporary disruption to surrounding areas. »
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