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Calgary Police charge 11 Eritrean rioters following savage September fight

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Friday, 10 November 2023

Calgary police charge 11 men, identify 50 people of interest in September riot


 


Eleven men have been charged following a conflict that involved clashing ethnic political groups in Calgary’s northeast in early September.

The Calgary Police Service task force investigating the incident said they face rioting, assault, mischief and weapons-related charges.

“As far as the rioting charge, it’s very rare for Calgary to lead these types of (charges),” acting Deputy Chief Scott Boyd said Thursday.

“This was an extreme case where this wasn’t about peaceful protest. This was a violent clash of individuals that came with a mindset to cause violence. And that’s not tolerated in our great city.”

Boyd said the charges came as a result of co-operation and tips from the community, and police hope that same sort of help will lead to the identification of 50 people they have identified as people of interest in connection with the violence.

At around 5 p.m. on Sept. 2, officers responded to reports of more than 150 people involved in a clash that spilled into the northeast communities of Falconridge and Castleridge.

Police said there were two concurrent events hosted by members of Calgary’s Eritrean community.

Boyd said the pre-event communication between the groups that usually helps police ensure the safety of demonstrators, the public and officers, broke down.

“In this case, there was a breakdown in communication and what the groups had shared didn’t come to fruition as planned. And so we had this violent clash between the parties at a location that we had not planned for,” Boyd said.

The acting deputy chief said the sudden escalation between the groups caused police to have to adjust their tactics.

“If the individual situation would allow for arrests to be made in the moment, of course we would examine that circumstance,” he said. “In the situation that we’re talking about, this one in particular, our members who responded to this conflict were shocked with the blatant violence that was erupting around them.

“And so, in the moment, it was not appropriate to lay charges in this violent clash.”

The charges that were announced Thursday include:

  • Ykhlo Brhanne, 35, Daniel Negasi, 36, Okbazghi Tesfamichael Haile, 32, Habtom Haile, 33, and Efrem Haile Gebru, 38, have been charged with rioting and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
  • Angosom Bahta, 35, and Tesfaldot Hailemariam Gebrekid, 27, have been charged with rioting, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
  • Amanuel Kiflezgi Sium, 24, and Yamin Okubahanes, 28, have been charged with rioting, assault with a weapon, mischief and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
  • Tesfans Gebregzabher, 49, has been charged with rioting and assault with a weapon.
  • Million Hagos, 43, has been charged with rioting.
Click to play video: 'Over 150 people involved in ‘violent conflict’ in northeast Calgary Saturday'
2:20Over 150 people involved in ‘violent conflict’ in northeast Calgary Saturday
Boyd said the task force has combed through hundreds of hours of video footage to identify the people of interest.

CPS has set up a webpage with images of the remaining people of interest police hope to identify.

“We still need people to look at the website and come forward if they recognize themselves or other individuals that may have information to this community,” Boyd said. “Support remains crucial to furthering our investigation.

“I can tell you that other arrests are planned and how those arrests play out is up to the individuals.”

Calgary police respond to a violence clash on Falconridge Boulevard in northeast Calgary on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. (Darren Wright/CTV News Calgary)

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