May 5, 2024 – The undersigned individuals and Canadian civil society, faith-based, community and human rights organizations from all over Canada, are writing to express our deep concerns regarding the recent events at the University of Calgary and University of Alberta encampments. We strongly condemn the excessive use of force and violence by the Calgary Police Service (CPS) and Edmonton Police Service (EPS) against peaceful protesters, students and members of the university community. During this egregious act, where police officers in riot gear broke up a peaceful assembly with tear gas and flash bangs, CPS arrested at least four individuals and sent several to the hospital for sustained injuries. EPS also made arrests but numbers are not disclosed yet.

We express our solidarity with the students and community members who were subjected to police brutality and aggression. The actions of the CPS and EPS not only violated the fundamental rights of individuals engaged in peaceful protest but also eroded trust in law enforcement and undermined the principles of accountability and transparency.

The encampments, established by students at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, were legitimate form of peaceful protest, an exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and assembly, as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is deeply troubling that instead of engaging in dialogue and communication with the students, the authorities and university administration chose to resort to violent and oppressive tactics, reminiscent of authoritarian regimes. 

We demand the following:

  • A thorough and transparent investigation into the actions of the CPS and EPS must be conducted holding accountable those responsible for ordering and carrying out the use of force.
  • The police chiefs must demonstrate restraint and abstain from actions that impede freedom of expression or encroach upon the protected charter freedoms of students. 
  • The University of Calgary and the University of Alberta administration must uphold the principles of academic freedom and respect the rights of students to engage in peaceful protest. They should engage in dialogue with students rather than invite police to intimidate students by using force. 
  • Elected officials in Calgary and Edmonton should take concrete steps to ensure that the safety and rights of our students are protected. It is imperative that they seize this responsibility, publicly demonstrate their support for students by standing with them, and actively work to ensure their protection and the preservation of their rights. 
  • All communities in Calgary and Edmonton should unite in solidarity with the students on campus, offering both physical protection and unwavering support during these challenging times.

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the students and community members who bravely stood up for justice and human rights at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta. We urge all Canadians to join us in condemning police brutality and advocating for the protection of fundamental freedoms and democratic values.

The Signatories:

  1. Canadian Muslim Public Affairs Council (CMPAC)
  2. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)
  3. BC Civil Liberties Association
  4. Independent Jewish Voices Canada
  5. Just Peace Advocates/ Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
  6. Justice for All Canada
  7. Alternatives
  8. The Canadian BDS Coalition & International BDS Allies
  9. Hikma Public Affairs Council
  10. Canadian Council of Imam
  11. Think for Actions
  12. DawaNet
  13. Independent Jewish Voices Calgary
  14. Muslim council of Calgary
  15. Akram Joumaa Islamic centre
  16. Palestinian House Association (PHA) Calgary
  17. The Watermelon Foundation for Justice – Calgary
  18. JFP Calgary
  19. Palestine Advocacy Club – Unversity of Calgary
  20. TwoBirds Counselling
  21. Downtown Muslim Professional Network
  22. Naturopathic Doctors for Environmental and Social Trust
  23. Edmonton Islamic Centre
  24. AUArts Students for Palestine
  25. SJP
  26. York Region Muslims
  27. Canadian Muslim Healthcare Network
  28. Victoria Peace Coalition
  29. Iraqi Turkmen Federation of Canada
  30. Rohingya Association of Canada
  31. Palestinian and Jewish Unity
  32. Ontario Palestinian Rights Association
  33. Jerusalem Community Serbices of Ontario
  34. Al Huda Institute
  35. Vancouver Granville for Palestine
  36. Tawheed Community Centre
  37. Anatolia Islamic Centre
  38. Muslim Council of Brantford-Brant
  39. University of Ottawa Muslim Students’ Association
  40. Fleetwood Islamic Academy Society
  41. Pickering Palestinian Association
  42. PSA Kingston
  43. CJPME Saskatoon Chapter
  44. Oakville-Halton4Palestine
  45. Muslim Women of Brant
  46. Muslimah Empowered Chapter (MEC)
  47. Abu bakr Musalah
  48. Bosnian Islamic Centre of Hamilton
  49. Jerrahi Sufi Order of Canada
  50. The Qur’an Project
  51. Toronto—St. Paul’s for Palestine
  52. Anti-Racism Coalition NL (ARC-NL)
  53. Palestinian Canadian Congress
  54. Scarborough Southwest for Palestine
  55. Ottawa health professionals for justice in Palestine
  56. Faculty 4 Palestine – Manitoba
  57. Ottawa Healthcare professionals for Justice in Palestine