Derek Reimer arrested near drag storytime event at Calgary library

Calgary police say they have arrested a man near a drag storytime event at a library in the city's southwest Wednesday afternoon.

Calgary preacher previously ordered to stay away from LGBTQ2S+ community

a brick building with a sign that reads 'calgary public library'
Signal Hill library hosted a drag event Wednesday. Police told CBC News that one man was arrested. (Tom Ross/CBC)

Calgary police say they have arrested a man near a drag storytime event at a library in the city's southwest Wednesday afternoon.

Police told CBC News a man was arrested for a breach of bail conditions, but did not confirm his name. A social media video posted by Rebel News shows Derek Reimer being arrested in a parking lot near the Signal Hill Library.

Reimer was previously arrested and charged with hate-motivated offences following a Feb. 25 altercation at a library storytime drag event. Reimer was ordered to stay away from LGBTQ2S+ community members and events.

"I can confirm one man has been arrested and charged after a breach of conditions related to a criminal matter. As he hasn't seen a [justice of the peace] yet, we can't release his name," police spokesperson Emma Poole wrote in an emailed statement to CBC. 

a group of three people stand outside a brick building. one is draped in a rainbow blanket
People stand outside a Reading with Royalty event Wednesday at the public library in the city's southwest. (Tom Ross/CBC)

Inside the library, a full house of parents and kids attended the Reading with Royalty event.

Somebody pulled the fire alarm in the library as it was happening, which caused a brief disruption.

Performer Shane Onyou, who read at the event, said the interruption was disappointing.

"Someone decided to pull the fire alarm out of hate to try and stop the event. However, we had intel that was going to happen, so we were prepared for that so we were able to deal with it the way it needed to be dealt with."

"It's ignorance … it's age appropriate. We read books to kids that are children's books around children's themes."

Mary Kapusta, director of communications and engagement for the Calgary Public Library, said postponing a drag event earlier this month was a difficult choice that was "not taken lightly."  

"Ultimately, we have to ensure that we're creating safe spaces, and these are spaces where small children are," Kapusta said.  

a person with a beard and a bowler hat is wearing a blue blazer
Shane Onyou read at the event at the Signal Hill Library on Wednesday. (Tom Ross/CBC)

"The library remains committed to our partnership with Calgary Pride. We are committed to Reading with Royalty. It's an excellent program, a popular and well loved program by the community." 

On Tuesday, Calgary city council updated a bylaw and brought in another to address escalating protests at drag events.

The changes, which were debated Tuesday at a regular council meeting, include adding the word "intimidation" to the existing public behaviour bylaw.

The new law, called the Safe and Inclusive Access Bylaw, will immediately prohibit protests within 100 metres of an entrance to a recreation facility or library.

On Tuesday, Reimer was issued a 30-day trespass notice after a prayer session in the Municipal Building, the City of Calgary said. 

"Mr. Reimer was warned on a previous occasion that he could not hold a religious event inside the Municipal Building unless he has a permit." 

With files from Meghan Grant, The Canadian Press