Occupy Calgary packs up tents, leaves site

CALGARY — Occupy Calgary may have come in with a roar when it took over Olympic Plaza and set up a tent city in mid-October, but protesters left with a whimper early Friday.

A group of Occupy Calgary protesters stand by a sculpture at Calgary's Olympic Plaza on Friday. The group packed up its tents in the middle of the night prior to a court order that they leave the site but left the sculpture and a number of signs.

A group of Occupy Calgary protesters stand by a sculpture at Calgary's Olympic Plaza on Friday. The group packed up its tents in the middle of the night prior to a court order that they leave the site but left the sculpture and a number of signs.

CALGARY — Occupy Calgary may have come in with a roar when it took over Olympic Plaza and set up a tent city in mid-October, but protesters left with a whimper early Friday.

They moved out in the dark of night ahead of a 2 p.m. deadline that had been ordered by a judge in a court injunction.

The group brought in a truck and packed up tents and belongings. The only things left behind were some protest signs and a 2.5-metre-tall metal “Occu-sculpture.”

“We’ve been silenced,” said spokesman Tavis Ford to a chorus of “No comments” from a handful of protesters standing in front of the sculpture.

Ford refused to say anything else. He handed reporters a news release entitled Statement from the People.

“For almost two months we have been a living crucible where every imaginable emotion, endeavour and dream of humanity has been confronted and thrust upon us, every day,” said the release.

“Does the mountain of paper, bylaws, lawyers, police, false testimony and disdain heaped on us by our government deserve accolades for its triumph over free expression?”

The protesters said the sculpture they call The Heart of the Beast was being left behind as a physical reminder of their movement.

The occupiers had indicated as late as Thursday that they planned to defy the court injunction.

Calgary’s bylaw enforcement officials were planning to go through the park after the deadline to assess damage and to clean up the popular area for the Christmas season.

The sculpture is expected to be impounded for 30 days with its fate falling into the hands of city council.

At the occupation’s peak, there were between 30 and 40 tents set up, but only about 20 protesters actually camped out the entire time.