Pubdate: Thu, 14 May 2009
Source: FFWD (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 FFWD
Author: Reginald Caruthers


In nearly every major city on May 2 (over 300 cities worldwide) 
peaceful demonstrators congregated to protest marijuana laws. Local 
police across the country participated to ensure an orderly March, 
and for that they should be congratulated. However, there was an 
attitude among Calgary officers. The parade felt more like a show of 
police force, intrusive intelligence gathering, and an opportunity to 
make arrests, rather than civic duty for an orderly parade.

Multiple officers were armed with a variety of surveillance 
equipment, including high definition cameras capable of interfacing 
with face recognition software, in addition to video surveillance. 
Unlike many protests across Canada users were targeted by Police 
where confiscations, and presumably arrests took place. In Toronto 
there were 32 officers for over 5,000 people in the parade, in 
contrast Calgary's turnout of around 750 and the number of officers 
per capita here far exceeded that of Toronto. Many of these officers 
harassed protesters staring them down and projected an air of 
intimidation and menace, with the police helicopter needlessly 
circling overhead every 10 to 15 minutes.

As a citizen I am outraged by the officers' outlandish and 
confrontational attitude towards a peaceful and generally cooperative protest.

Reginald Caruthers, Calgary
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