A man is carried away by police after his arrest in Central Memorial Park in Calgary on Saturday, March 19, 2022. Police made six arrests when altercations occurred between Community Solidarity Calgary and Calgary Freedom Central. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal)

Calgary Freedom Central, the main organization behind the Calgary Freedom Protests, were forced to change course and walk to City Hall, but conflicts arose when they came back to Central Memorial Park, with multiple arrests made.

Community Solidarity Calgary, the group made up of Beltline residents, and Calgary Freedom Central were both affected by the court injunction that allowed the police to arrest anyone that is found on the street protesting. 

The police made six arrests, and gave out 10 tickets for parking violations, with more tickets expected to come. Around 1000 people came out for the Freedom Protest, and around 100 for the Beltline protest.

“We have to interpret today as an absolute victory for us,” said Patrick King, the police liaison for Community Solidarity Calgary after the protests wrapped before 5 p.m. at Central Memorial Park.

Chief Constable Mark Neufeld of the Calgary Police Service said on Saturday’s police briefing that one arrest came about after a protestor assaulted a police officer, and another from a trucker honking their horn consistently while driving on Macleod Trail, with the honking in violation of the injunction. The other arrests were because of the injunction.

A man confronts the police in Central Memorial Park in Calgary on Saturday, March 19, 2022. An injunction was placed on the protests this weekend that would see arrests for anyone that marched on the street. Police made six arrests when altercations occurred between Community Solidarity Calgary and Calgary Freedom Central, including the man pictured above. (Photo by Alejandro Melgar/The Emery Weal)

“If I was doing math on the back of a napkin, I would say all six [arrests] were affiliated with Group A,” said Neufeld, with Group A being the Freedom Protest.

The Freedom Protest moved on sidewalks and then moved onto Stephen Avenue towards City Hall, where they stayed for an hour, then they made their way back to Central Memorial Park. 

Community Solidarity Calgary protestors moved to Central Memorial Park after they got together to have a picnic. The protest groups collided and conflict arose at Central Memorial Park when the Freedom Protest came back from their rally at City Hall.

“So before then there’s been absolutely no incidents. I mean, it’s a very friendly scene. We’re a bunch of very peaceful law-abiding citizens who really felt that our rights have been trampled on,” said Margaret Fong at the World-Wide Freedom Rally before leaving for City Hall. The World-Wide Freedom Rally is a rally that happens in multiple cities throughout Canada once every six weeks.

The Beltline saw no protesting or disruptions of business, with no injuries or property damage to the area, according to Neufeld.

“There were portions of Group A and portions of Group B that were intent on coming together and engaging in conflict,” said Neufeld.

Some of what’s going on isn’t about cause as much anymore, as it is about conflict – at least for some of the people.

CPS Chief Constable Mark Neufeld

Neufeld confirmed that the Freedom Protest also have a police liaison, with the purpose of the liaison project to help make the protests less disruptive; however, the Freedom Protest group is large, and the influence is hampered since everyone isn’t reached.

Calgary Freedom Central announced on Sunday, March 20, 2022 that their weekly protest will be be at Olympic Plaza, but it remains unclear if that will be where the protest from now on.

“Fundamentally, we don’t really want to be here. We only march if they march, and if the hate parade stays home, we can all have our Saturdays back,” said King.

Alejandro Melgar is a second-year graduating student in the online-print journalism stream. He is the editor-in-chief of The Emery Weal and contributor. You can find his work on LiveWire Calgary and on his website here.

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