After vowing to stay and face arrest, the few remaining Occupy Calgary protesters dismantled their camp and vacated Olympic Plaza early Friday morning.

The activists emailed news media on Thursday afternoon announcing they planned to stay in the park in defiance of a court-ordered deadline to leave by 2 p.m. on Friday.  

But instead the protesters packed up their belongings overnight, leaving only a display of about 30 white placards with messages on each.

"This is no longer a conversation," reads one.

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The protesters, having vacated Olympic Plaza, left behind a monument where their camp stood. (D. Gustafson)

The protesters also left behind a large monument in the middle of their former encampment. A cluster of twisting metal prongs pointing upward, it reads: "The People Hold the Power."

About seven protesters returned to the park at 9 a.m. for a scheduled press conference. They distributed a printed statement but refused further comment.

"As a community, we are united by the internalization of the struggles of all people, from the indignity of the debt-bondage of our neighbours and nations to the ongoing, slow-motion genocides of the indigenous people of our world," the statement read.

The protesters also requested that the monument not be removed from the park. "Embodied within this monument are the convictions and determination of all those who continue to seek ... humanity's noble course," they said in the written release.

On Tuesday a Court of Queen’s Bench judge approved the city's request to order the protesters to tear down their camp. Officials warned the approximately one dozen protesters that they faced arrest for being in contempt of court if they stayed.

The protesters had set up camp at the downtown plaza on Oct. 15.

With files from the CBC's Leighton Klassen