The Calgary Police Service arrested three people from duelling protests in the downtown core on Oct. 22, escalating tensions between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protests that have until now been largely peaceful in Calgary,
Charges laid included breach of peace and assault with a weapon.
Police said they were required to intervene given the increased tensions that were occurring between protest groups over the last two major protests in the city.
“Calgary is a diverse city, and we understand that this means diversity in thought and in causes that are immensely important to Calgarians,” said the Calgary Police Service.
“We maintain that we police behaviours and not beliefs, and in the last two protests we have seen increasingly escalating behaviour that has required police intervention. While we will continue to uphold Charter rights to protest, we remind Calgarians that there are very definitive expectations and responsibilities to those who choose to protest.”
They said that any actions taken that put the safety of the public or of police officers at risk will not be tolerated.
Pro-Isreal protests gathered at Calgary’s City Hall just after noon, while pro-Palestinian protesters began to gather in the same area after 2 p.m.
Police said at just after 2:30 p.m, that 330 people had gathered at Olympic Plaza in support of both sides, and that clashes of violence had occurred.
A large contingent of pro-Palestinian protesters marched to the Harry Hays federal building after 3 p.m., returning to Calgary City Hall after 4 p.m.
Police said they were largely able to contain the marchers to the sidewalks, which at that time had more than 1,000 people in attendance.
The service has made an informational website for protesters in Calgary, outlining Charter rights and freedoms, alongside what constitutes illegal behaviour at a protest.