Idle No More organizer advises against roadblocks
Calgary police still looking at whether charges will be laid over Saturday's 14th Street bridge protest
Some Idle No More organizers in Calgary are appealing to their fellow activists to avoid tactics like roadblocks.
It comes after a group of protesters effectively shut down the 14th Street bridge on Saturday. Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he recognizes their right to protest, but says participants need to be more respectful.
"You have to be respectful and you have to make sure you're not disrupting people's lives," Nenshi said. "Both from a legal perspective, but also as a longtime activist, that's a bad way to get community support."
Not all of those involved with the Idle No More movement were on board with the idea of shutting down traffic on the bridge.
Chantal Chagnon, an Idle No More organizer, said she was not involved in the 14th Street bridge blockade.
"As soon as the blockade happened, I personally left and I know a lot of other people did," Chagnon said.
She also said organizers need to make sure the movement remains peaceful.
"This is a grassroots movement, but we have to remain peaceful … one person can really spoil the bunch.... You just have to keep your intentions good," Chagnon said.
Michael Smith, a Métis University of Calgary student, says the movement is heading in the wrong direction.
"As the protest goes on, (we’re) moving farther from the ability to have constructive dialogue, not only between the prime minister and the First Nation chief at a high level, also between you and me on the street," Smith said.
Chagnon says more demonstrations are planned as protestors continue to call for the repeal of omnibus Bill C-45, which they say erodes the rights of aboriginal people.
Calgary police are still determining what, if any, charges will be laid against the protesters behind the 14th Street blockade on Saturday. Those charges could range from a city bylaw violation, traffic violation or a charge under the Criminal Code.