Calgary police dismantle university encampment amid nationwide anti-Israel protests
Calgary police dismantle university encampment amid nationwide anti-Israel protests

The Calgary police didn’t hold back when they forcibly removed protestors encamped at the University of Calgary campus.

Around 11:00 pm on Thursday, police equipped with guns containing rubber bullets used riot shields, bicycles, and flashbangs to disperse the encampments.

The anti-Israel protestors were assured that no one would be arrested if they left peacefully, but some decided to resist the order.

The police force confirmed that the University of Calgary notified them on Thursday morning that protestors had sent up tents on the lawn of MacEwan Hall. 

“The protestors were asked to leave and, when they refused, were trespassed by University of Calgary staff. Despite being trespassed, the protestors refused to leave, and police were called in for assistance,” confirmed the Calgary police in a press release.

As the clock approached midnight, the police warned the remaining protestors it was time to go.

“We are asking you to move off the campus property safely, or there will be arrests. It is time to leave,” one officer told protestors with a megaphone.

Protestors were seen locking arms and chanting, “Hold the line!”

After the five-minute warning, police began chanting “Move!” as they slowly inched forward, pushing protestors back with riot shields. 

Some more aggressive protestors were pinned to the ground and arrested. Certain protestors threw projectiles at police officers and tried to deter them by shining flashlights in their eyes to no effect.

“Leave the University of Calgary property as you are trespassing, as we have asked you numerous times,” police warned.

Eventually, the protestors were pushed back outside their encampment, marked by pallets acting as a fence. The police kicked the pallets down, laying waste to the encampment.

However, the outside of the official encampment was still on university grounds. Police used flashbangs and pepper spray to deter protestors further. It took about ten minutes for the protestors to be forced off campus property. 

“Projectiles and assaultive behaviour by the remaining protestors triggered the use of non-lethal munitions by officers. No injuries have been reported. The number of arrests, tickets and charges will be made publicly available tomorrow,” said the Calgary Police.

Throughout the removal, some protestors raised concerns with officers that their rights were being infringed upon. The Calgary police encouraged protestors to review their rights and responsibilities when protesting.

According to Rebel News, which recorded most of the interaction, protestors have been told they can return the following Friday, as long as there are no encampments, barricades, or obstructions. 

Similar protests and encampments have been erected across Canada.

Some of the country’s largest encampments are ongoing at McGill University in Montreal and the University of Toronto.

Both province’s governments have publicly opposed encampments at universities.

“There are all sorts of ways that are very legal to demonstrate now. To make an encampment on the grounds of a university that doesn’t want that encampment there, it’s illegal. But there are other ways of expressing your opinion that will be tolerated,” said Quebec’s Premier François Legault in French.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford echoed his neighbouring premier’s concerns.

“I’m not in favour of these encampments on the universities. They need to move. The university has to move these people along,” said Ford.

Encampments have been set up in half of the provinces across Canada.

Half of Canadians are opposed to anti-Israel encampments at Canadian universities.

At Alberta’s other largest city, Edmonton, anti-Israel protestors set up an encampment on Thursday, demanding that the school disclose its investments and cut all ties with Israel. 

“I’ll watch and see if the University of Alberta learned from what they observed in Calgary. We’re on standby to provide any assistance should they ask,” said Alberta’s Premier Danielle Smith on Friday.

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