‘We have laws’: Premier Smith says police action justified in Calgary

The actions, including the decision to use non-lethal force, to disperse pro-Palestinian protesters from the University of Calgary campus were justified, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said Friday.

“The university has made it very clear that you can’t trespass and you can’t camp, so I think people should follow the law,” Smith told media during an announcement in Calgary.

Authorities say several people who were part of a pro-Palestinian protest on Thursday refused to leave campus and were arrested.

Earlier in the day, police were called to the school to deal with dozens of protesters who refused requests from campus security to leave.

“Several protesters had begun setting up tents on the south lawn of MacEwan Hall,” police said in a news release.

Police responded to the scene and “worked with the university” to safely resolve the situation, where they “clearly communicated” to protesters the consequences of staying.

Despite that order, many of the protesters remained and the police were later asked to intervene and enforce the invasion order.

Police say that when officers entered, protesters took violent action against them.

“Projects were thrown at police and barricades had to be removed. Throughout the event there were multiple opportunities for attendees to pack up and leave, and many did so without further problems,” police said.

At 11:15 p.m., the remaining protesters were arrested and removed from the park.

Police say non-lethal munitions were used to pacify the crowd and no injuries were reported.

“We encourage those who choose to protest to do so lawfully and peacefully. All protesters are encouraged to review their rights and responsibilities in http://calgarypolice.ca/protesting“the police said.

‘Breaking entry is not acceptable’: Smith

In his comments Friday, Smith noted that the post-secondary institution made it very clear that camping was not allowed and that the police response was justified.

“Due to the Coutts blockade, we have laws in the province and you cannot block critical infrastructure, and in this case, it is private property,” he said.

Smith adds that peaceful protest must follow parameters and that a large number of people protesting were not students on campus.

She says the province will provide support and assistance to the University of Alberta, which has also experienced similar protests, to ensure further incidents “don’t get out of control.”

“I don’t want to speculate, but I’ve seen some of the slogans that have been floated that there should be no place for anti-Semitism or hate crimes,” he said.

“So I would say if it accelerates and gets out of control and turns into hate speech, then I would say universities have to deal with it quickly.”

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Muslim Students Association condemns “colonial violence”

The University of Calgary’s Muslim Students Association (MSA) issued a statement Friday “unequivocally condemning” the actions taken by the Calgary post-secondary administration and police against the Mohkinstis student camp.

“Instead of engaging and discussing the students’ demands, the university resorted to colonial violence at its first opportunity,” the statement read.

“The use of tear gas, stun bombs, rubber bullets and arrests against peaceful protesters is a violation of our fundamental rights in Canada. “We affirm our right to peacefully protest, assemble, and camp as protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

The MSA represents 7,000 Muslim students on campus and called the move “the most aggressive action taken by any university in Canada to date.”

Another group, Canadian Muslims for Peace and Justice, also said the police officers’ conduct in breaking up the protest was “aggressive.”

“Canadian universities receive our tax dollars to operate,” the group wrote in a statement. “Therefore, as Canadian taxpayers, we demand that the University of Calgary allow peaceful student protests on the grounds of a public institution.”

Police justified in expelling trespassers: criminologist

The University of Calgary is considered private property, although the public still has access to it and can peacefully protest freely.

However, Mount Royal University criminologist Doug King says establishing encampments is starting to run afoul of both city and provincial trespassing regulations.

“I would have a hard time saying this is a criminal trespass because it’s not close to a home, but mischief laws could come into play,” he said.

“Mischief is generally interference with property, with a person’s use of his or her property, or with my use of commonly owned property in such a way as to make it possible.”

King went on to say that protesters were given ample warning and asked to be removed for several hours.

It notes that police have complete discretion to remove those who violate trespassing statutes.

“Police are extraordinarily trained with their amount of force, so first it would have started with a presence, then it would be a verbal warning and then it might be pulling hands or pushing someone away,” King said.

“It seems to me that the police were using their shields to push people aside, I also saw some bicycles and the use of stun grenades, which are firecrackers that produce a large explosion and a flash of light and smoke that normally would not disappear. harming anyone, rather than simply disorienting them.”

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The University of Calgary told CTV News they spoke to people involved in the protest and informed them of the rules.

“No temporary structures or nighttime protests are allowed. Members of the university community are free to protest, but not to camp.”

In a letter from U of C President Ed McCauley to the university community, he said police were called and, at 8 p.m., began enforcing the school invasion order.

“Your decision to enforce an invasion order – and how – is based on an assessment of the risk to public safety determined through things such as protesters’ actions, communications (including social media monitoring), and the analysis”.

Over the next few hours, many of the protesters left the property, but counterprotesters soon arrived and the situation “changed very quickly.”

“The risk of serious violence is one of the main reasons nighttime protests are not allowed. It is certainly possible that counterprotesters only learned about the encampment because they reported the large police presence,” McCauley said.

“It’s also possible that they would have shown up anyway (yesterday, this afternoon, some afternoon in the future) and in the middle of the night an encampment would have found itself in immediate and dangerous conflict with counterprotesters.”

McCauley admitted that students at the school have the right to protest, but there are limitations under the law and university policy on how to do so.

Protesters who spoke with CTV News shared only one statement about the protest, which was: “there are concrete interests at stake here and what we demand is concrete change from our university.”

Charges are pending against protesters who were arrested for trespassing on campus property.

(With files from Tyler Barrow)

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