City to remove Occupy Calgary tents in Olympic Plaza
Council votes to allow protest, not tents in Olympic Plaza
Calgary city council approved a motion Monday calling for the removal of Occupy Calgary protest tents from Olympic Plaza.
While there is no timeline for when it will happen, council was briefed on what the city's plan is for ending camping in the public park.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it's clear that council feels the protesters have made their point.
He said while the city can't end the protest, it can take steps to remove tents.
Nenshi says it will happen soon but he won't comment on exactly when.
"I can't answer that question because it is really a tactical issue for the bylaw folks and the police to decide upon when they're moving forward," he said. "What I can tell you is that council was clear that they are interested in moving expeditiously."
Nenshi said last Friday the Charter of Rights prevented the city from arbitrarily forcing out the protesters — even if they're breaking a city bylaw.
The motion to end Calgary’s occupy camping was introduced by Ald. John Mar, who wants the city to enforce all bylaws, including the one against camping in city parks.
He says Calgarians are frustrated with the three-week-old camping protest in Olympic Plaza.
Another motion introduced by Ald. Diane Colley-Urquhart was also approved at council to investigate the city's response to the Occupy Calgary protest. She also wants the report to address how to handle similar situations in the future.
The mayor said he's frustrated by the demonstration because it's distracting from bigger issues and none of the demands being made by Occupy Calgary relate to city hall.
Protesters vow to continue
Protesters who attended Monday's city council meeting said their protest will continue, with or without tents.
Can the Occupy movement survive without campsites? Have your say.
Occupy Calgary protesters began chanting earlier on Monday inside city council chambers while council was in a closed door session away from the chamber.
Security did not interrupt the short demonstration inside council chambers, something that has in the past been strictly forbidden whether council is in chambers or not.
Colley-Urquhart said Tuesday the protest showed contempt for democracy.
"When they walked right into chambers yesterday and showed the disregard they did for the institution and chanting, I was really, really upset and concerned about it," she said.
"I thought it was very disappointing and I was disappointed that security allowed it to go on. It made a farce of our whole system."
Colley-Urquhart said perhaps the doors to the chamber should be locked while council is on a break or an in-camera meeting.
Olympic Plaza protesters also say that some demonstrators will resume camping on St. Patrick's Island.
Protesters from another Occupy Calgary group left the site earlier Monday after making a deal to get some of the homeless occupiers into permanent homes.