11/16/2011 11:56 EST | Updated 01/16/2012 05:12 EST

Occupy Calgary: Tent Fire Leaves Two People Injured After Protesters Get Eviction Notices


CALGARY - Occupy Calgary protesters were waiting for the other shoe to drop Wednesday after a city-imposed deadline for them to leave their downtown site came and went.

Bylaw officers handed out 24-hour warnings the day before ordering protesters to remove their camp from Olympic Plaza, just across from city hall.

The officers were expected to return at noon Wednesday to remove any unoccupied tents and summon to court any protesters who refused to leave.

But nobody from the bylaw department showed up.

"You can't evict an idea whose time has come," said Aaron, who was carrying a large sign that said "The World is Watching."

"The time for this idea is definitely here now."

A sign painted in red on one of the tents said "Don't Be Afraid."

Police chief Rick Hanson spoke briefly with reporters while dozens of protesters crowded behind him. He said Occupy Calgary has been basically a peaceful protest and freedom of speech is protected under the Charter of Rights.

"The belief that there's been all kind of rampant vandalism down there that has been ignored is just not right," said Hanson.

"The role of the police is to ensure that rights are protected for everybody."

Two of the protesters were burned overnight when a tent caught fire and melted.

It was a different story Wednesday in Regina where city officials did remove tents and items left behind by protesters. But the site in Victoria Park was already abandoned.

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