On Tuesday morning in Calgary, bylaw officers, with the support of police, handed out warning tickets to protesters requiring them to remove their tents and signs from Olympic Plaza in the city’s downtown within 24 hours.
The first citation was issued to 19-year-old Tyler, who refused to provide his surname and was wearing a bandana over his face, but pledged to remain at the site. He said he has been participating in Occupy Calgary for the past month, sleeping in a tent on most nights, to raise awareness about “the gap between the rich and the poor.”
Meghan Oxley, 27, who also received a warning said she has no where to go. Her home was condemned due to black mould and a gas leak, and her previous occupation at a secondary Occupy Calgary site ended when a local agency promised new accommodation for the homeless protestors. But she said that pledge hasn’t come through yet.
Bill Bruce, Calgary’s director of bylaw services, said the next steps will be to remove structures and debris, issue tickets and set court appearances in order for a judge to decide whether the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees public camping. The city does not want to make an “high-level forced removals,” he said.
“That’s not Calgary’s way,” he added.
Cory Morgan, a local man who gathered 1,700 names on a petition to ask the city to act sooner to evict the protesters – and about two dozen tents – previously received a citation for driving his truck into Olympic Plaza, videotaped events as bylaw officers issued warnings. Some protesters shouted at Mr. Morgan to protest his presence at their protest site.
“They’re terrified of the optics of removing young kids from their tents,” he said of the city’s reluctance to force evictions.