Demonstrations expected around Calgary City Hall Sunday, parking bans in effect

Demonstrators are expected at City Hall on Sunday, which follows five arrests on Nov. 19, which Calgary’s Palestinian community alleges were police misconduct.

Justice for Palestinians (JFP) is holding its weekly rally in front of the Municipal Building at 2 p.m., which police say had 2,000 people the week prior, but the group says it was well over 4,000. The event is also co-hosted by Voice of Oppressed and Calgary Students for Palestine.

In addition, a “Stand with Israel – Peace Rally,” will be held across the street near Olympic Plaza at 1 p.m. The rally has held a couple of hundred people over the past couple of weeks.

As a result, Calgary police said on X there will be “several” parking bans in the area.

“Please be aware & obey all posted parking signage,” the post reads.

The “Justice for Palestinians: Solidarity Rally and March” notice says remarks and speeches will take place from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m., which is when the group will march “through the streets of Calgary.” It’s unclear where the march will go.

On the notice, the JFP says it has a “zero-tolerance” policy for any kind of hate speech, discrimination, or violence.

“We are committed to creating a safe and welcoming environment for all attendees. Any individuals displaying hateful messaging or engaging in aggressive behaviour will be asked to leave,” it reads.

The rally for Israel says people can show up to show “unwavering support for Israel.”

“You can expect a strong police presence, ensuring a secure environment for all attendees,” the post reads.

Arrests made following protest; Calgary Palestinian community alleges police misconduct

Calgary police officers made five arrests on Nov. 19 after 100 people broke away from the main march.

Videos circulated online of the incident, and there have been questions on the handling of the situation by police.

“The point of these protests are to put pressure and let people know about what’s really going on in this point of the world,” said Reyad Abusalim, a Palestinian community leader.

“Protesting what you have to say is—there’s ways to do that without actually stopping traffic. But the problem is nobody’s listening to our cause, so these 100 individuals decide to take things into their own hands—which I don’t agree with, at all. But I don’t disagree with either, right? Because I see their frustration.”

Officers released a statement on Monday, saying it received several questions from community members following the arrests and charges made.

“Several individuals within this group were not compliant with police and despite attempted negotiations, continued to impede traffic and escalate their behaviour, with some attempting to push through a line of police officers,” the release reads.

Watch: Large weekend protest in downtown Calgary

One of those was 13-year-old Ahmad, who police say had pushed through the police line. He was released from custody without charges, but remains in hospital as of Monday afternoon with a concussion, bruises, and scrapes.

The actions of Calgary police were called “disturbing” by city Coun. Raj Dhaliwal.

“You have a 13-year-old kid I’ve been told and you can see in the video, he’s been grabbed by two professionally trained officers. And put down on the ground and apparently punched,” said Coun. Raj Dhaliwal to reporters following the event.

“You have a pregnant woman, her hijab, her religious significance of hijab, in Islam, we all know what it means. It’s being basically taken off her head, and it’s a pregnant woman, it’s not acceptable to me.”

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Supt. Joe Brar of the CPS operational support division said despite the arrests, hundreds of demonstrators showed up in a “safe, lawful and peaceful manner.”

“Managing a crowd of this size for a prolonged period is extremely dynamic and cannot be reduced to short video clips that you might see on social media,” he said.

“Public safety is paramount in these situations and our officers did an incredible job ensuring the demonstrations remained safe for all, despite escalating behaviours, and with minimal impact to traffic and neighbouring Calgarians.”

In a news release, JFP acknowledges a separate group of protesters continued with a separate march following the initial march.

“JFP received reports that they were kettled by police, and there were allegations of police misconduct,” the release reads.

“In response to these concerning developments, several members of JFP promptly attended the scene to monitor and engage in de-escalation efforts.”

The group says it is dedicated to the safety and well-being of those protesting, as they are “exercising their right to peaceful protest.”

“JFP urgently appeals to anyone with video evidence of police misconduct to please email it to the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) at for a comprehensive review.”

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