Police vehicles at Calgary Police Service headquarters in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 9, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Freedom protesters back for another Saturday in Calgary police say groups dispersed

CALGARY — Police in Calgary say about 300 demonstrators gathered at a downtown park on Saturday, but they say injunction rules granted earlier this month after weeks of so-called freedom protests were followed.

The Calgary Police Service says in a statement that the group that assembled in Harley Hotchkiss Gardens headed along Stephen Ave. to City Hall, and that the roughly 100 people who arrived there later dispersed peacefully.

They say another group of demonstrators at Prince’s Island Park also moved along to join the first gathering, but that one protester was arrested for breaching the injunction by using an amplification system on a public street.

Police also say drivers in the area who were excessively honking their horns in relation to the demonstrations were being ticketed under the Traffic Safety Act.

Last week, a group of about 1,000 people converged at Central Memorial Park in the city’s Beltline neighbourhood before moving on to City Hall, and several demonstrators were arrested.

The ongoing weekend protests against vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions have led to an outcry and counter-protests from residents, and an emergency injunction was granted March 18 which strengthens police authority to enforce the law.

“Significant police and partner resources were co-ordinated this week and today to ensure demonstrations in Calgary remained safe and minimized disruption to downtown residents and visitors,” police said in their statement issued late Saturday.

They said that in the past week they had attempted to negotiate with all protest organizers “to come up with options that allowed for freedom of speech, but with as little impact to the local community as possible.”

Police said one person was arrested for outstanding warrants.

They said bylaw officers also issued one ticket for illegal use of a drone and one ticket for operating a business booth without a license.