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Investigation into pro-Palestinian protest actions welcomed: CPS

Calgary’s top police officer supports officers involved in clearing a pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Calgary last week.

On May 9, the Calgary Police Service assisted campus security officers in clearing a demonstration on school property that showed no signs of dispersing.

At around 11:15 p.m. that day, officers used non-lethal forces, such as rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades, to break up the protest and arrested several people at the scene.

Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld, speaking with CTV Morning Live Calgary on Tuesday, said he heard that protesters were injured during the police operation, but that no one has come forward so far.

“So if that’s the case, I think there should be avenues for people to come forward and report those situations to an independent body.”

He says the University of Calgary took a “very reasonable and prudent stance” regarding the protest.

“Obviously they are going to allow freedom of expression and assembly for the student body on campus; that has never been controversial. The issue was the actual camps and occupation.

“The university has a policy against that and they were very concerned.”

Neufeld said the University of Calgary had the benefit of seeing what happened at other universities in Canada, North America and even the rest of the world.

“This came to Alberta a little later, probably due to our wet spring, but we anticipated it could come.”

He added that “it became very clear that the protests were not a problem at all, we just had problems with the camps.”

CPS under investigation

On Monday, the Alberta government announced it would order the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the province’s police watchdog, to investigate the CPS’s actions in relation to the protest.

“There is a way to protest peacefully, and it has to be done within the law,” Premier Danielle Smith said during question period in the Alberta legislature on Monday, reiterating comments she made the day after the protest was shut down. at the U of C.

“We’ve seen protests get out of control at (University of California, Los Angeles), at Columbia (New York University), where universities were vandalized and vandalized and Jewish students felt unwelcome and fearful.

“This is the kind of thing you have to make sure you’re on guard about, so it doesn’t get out of control.”

Communication breaks down

Before protesters even set foot on University of Calgary property, they were in contact with the Calgary Police Service, Neufeld says.

“We really wanted to make sure we communicated with students so they understood what was going to happen regarding the university campus,” he said.

“The reality is that cooperating with police to minimize the impact of protests on the community is not making the headlines.”

As a result, according to Neufeld, the lines of communication between police and protesters are breaking down.

“Frankly, it’s not going in a good direction.”

Neufeld says its members always welcome ASIRT’s input and “will cooperate fully with any review.”

(With files from CTV Edmonton)