Calgary police say they’re investigating after a “violent conflict” between two groups involving around 150 people Saturday night that may be linked to clashes within the Eritrean community.
Police said around 5 p.m. Saturday officers responded to an incident in northeast Falconridge for reports of two groups with opposing views engaged in violence. They said they believe up to 150 people were involved, and many were brandishing weapons.
Supt. Cliff O’Brien said that police were prepared with additional resources in the event of clashes like those seen in Edmonton and Toronto.
Several people were taken to hospital by EMS, O’Brien said.
“It was a very violent event. We have assigned detectives to investigate and that’s what they’ll do,” he said, adding that police believe some people from the groups had stashed weapons prior to the incident.
“They were actively trying to assault the police officers. I think the fact that we have multiple people injured, some with some fairly serious injuries, I think the whole incident is troubling. On top of that, this impacted the entire city because we had to pull resources from other areas,” said O’Brien.
Last month there was violence at an Eritrean festival in Edmonton, and a similar clash in Toronto earlier that month. At those events, protesters from the Eritrean diaspora opposed events that billed themselves as celebrations of Eritrean culture.
The Calgary Police Service said it considers this to be a serious event and has dedicated resources to keep the peace.
“This is not a protest. This is a violent conflict between two groups with opposing views,” O’Brien said.
Police asked Calgarians to avoid the community of Falconridge for the time being in the areas that officers are addressing.