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Calgary officials stand down on Occupy protesters, despite eviction warning

A protester watches police and bylaw officers hand out eviction notices to Occupy Calgary protesters in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2011. Occupiers of the small tent city were given 24 hours to leave.


Officials in Calgary are taking a hands-off approach to the city's month-long Occupy protest movement and will leave it to the courts for a ruling.

Despite 24-hour eviction warnings issued Tuesday morning to those camping at Olympic Plaza, bylaw officers and police officers refused to remove tents or fine activists on Wednesday. Instead, officials said they will issue writs for activists to appear before a judge.

Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson told reporters that officers have their hands tied for the moment and cited protections for speech and assembly guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Chief Hanson said since "the courts have liberally interpreted" Charter rights around protests, a judge should decide the next step.

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Meanwhile, safety concerns have been raised at the Calgary protest after a tent caught fire around 1:30 Wednesday morning. The male occupant and second bystander were injured when they came into contact with molten material.

The Calgary Fire Department is investigating the cause of the blaze, but local media suggested a candle could be to blame.

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