The City of Calgary sought and was granted a temporary injunction that will address the Beltline protests.
The injunction will prohibit ongoing violations of existing bylaws and regulations and clarifies enforcement authority. The city said it offers more support to law enforcement in the execution of their duties.
“We fully support the right to peaceful protest, but we understand the toll these ongoing protests have taken on the residents and businesses in this area,” said David Duckworth, City Manager, in a prepared release.
This comes as another confrontation was brewing this weekend in the Beltline. The Beltline Neighbourhoods Association had encouraged people to support them this weekend in the face of ongoing weekly protests. Social media posts also showed that groups involved in the main protest were also encouraging greater participation in their event.
Meanwhile, the Calgary Police Commission was scheduled to hold a special meeting on the protests Friday afternoon.
According to the city, the injunction is in effect immediately. It will remain in place until a permanent injunction application is heard by the courts, the city said.
“I’m pleased that this injunction was granted and will allow the Calgary Police Service to have another tool available to effectively address ongoing disruptions in the Beltline community,” said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
“The City of Calgary played a leadership role in applying for this injunction which strengthens enforcement opportunities.”
The City said they sought this injunction due to the compounding impact of the long-term community disruption, an increase in escalating behaviour and clear intention of participants to continue these activities.
“While the majority of public health restrictions have been lifted, protests continue and conflict has intensified, causing concern for City officials and police,” the statement read.
‘It’s encouraging’: BNA president Peter Oliver
Peter Oliver, president of the Beltline Neighbourhoods Association, told LiveWire Calgary that Calgary police have now been given a tool to use.
“It’s a little bit odd that it doesn’t specifically target the one group that has been doing this for two years,” Oliver said.
“I think we have to leave it to Calgary police tomorrow to do the work that they need to do and to live up to that. And I think Calgarians will be watching closely how they conduct themselves and whether or not they show the willingness to do what residents and community members have been asking them to do for some time now.”
Oliver also said that they’ve received widespread support through their Defend the Beltline campaign. Launched earlier this week, it encouraged anyone that cares about the Beltline to come down, bring a friend, a sign, a mask and earplugs to peacefully counter-protest.
That’s changed, Oliver said. They want people to come down to 17 Avenue SW and support local businesses impacted by the ongoing protests.
“We encourage everyone who is planning to come down and stand with Beltline residents… to still come down but to instead support the local businesses, to fill up the restaurants and their patios and the shops that have really been hurting because of these demonstrations and to support them peacefully as individuals,” he said.
“By doing so, we can reclaim the neighbourhood for the community and for the whole city.”
What’s being prohibited
The injunction reinforces existing bylaws, but specifically prohibits the following:
– The blocking of traffic on roads and on sidewalks, walking in the middle of the roadways, and preventing vehicles and pedestrians from lawfully passing by or accessing amenities in the area without authorization or a permit;
– Conduct or activity in a park which unreasonably disturbs the use or enjoyment of the park for other users of the park, or hosting an event or using an amplification system in a park without a permit;
– Commercial activity in a park, including but not limited to the operation of vendor stands within Central Memorial Park or other areas without a permit;
– The unnecessary sounding of horns or other audible warning / noise making devices, including but not limited to vehicle horns, air horns and megaphones.
According to the city, fine and imprisonment are potential penalties. Enforcement is at the discretion of the Calgary Police Service.
“The successful application to this injunction is excellent news for our community. This is the exact tool we needed as we all work together to return a sense of normalcy to the Beltline community”, said Calgary Police Service Chief Mark Neufeld.