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Police commission report outlines response to UCalgary's pro-Palestinian protest

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The Calgary Police Commission will learn more about how the police responded to a pro-Palestinian protest at the University of Calgary earlier this month.

The debriefing is the first item on the monthly meeting's agenda and provides a breakdown of what happened and how officers reacted.

Police dismantled the protest on May 9 after protesters refused demands from authorities to leave the area.

At the time, Amnesty International put out a statement saying it was "alarmed by the disproportionate use of force by law enforcement against peaceful protesters."

According to the report, patrol officers were first called to UCalgary in the morning as people started to set up tents.

The police service says it tried to de-escalate the situation and that the prominent leader was not a university student.

By the evening, police say they warned the crowd of 150 protesters numerous times, which made about half the people leave.

CPS alleges a final negotiation took place, but officers had bottles thrown at them.

When officers started to try and clear the camp around 11 p.m., they were met with physical force, the report says.

Police say the situation then became volatile, so 15 pepper balls, pepper spray and an OC grenade – which explodes in a flash of light and burst of sound – were used.

CPS said in the report that "the intervention was effective as intended in deescalating the situation."

"Moving forward, we will not hesitate to act definitively, as we did on May 9, to enforce the law in a manner respectful of protestors’ rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly," the report said.

An ASIRT investigation has since been launched, under orders from the provincial government, into reported injuries and social media video of the dismantling.

A letter from 623 university members has also been sent to the university’s president, saying administration "betrayed the values of higher education."

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