Five more charged after encampment removed at Manitoba Legislature

The Winnipeg Police Service has charged five more people after an encampment was cleared at the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday.

Police announced Wednesday that they had charged five people with obstructing a peace officer and occupying a tent or portable structure on the legislative grounds after they failed to leave the north encampment on the grounds.

The five charged were Trina Francois, 45; Daniel Jones, 43; Phillip McLennan, 50; Gregory Pittman, 50; and Owen Hall, 54.

This comes a day after seven people were arrested and charged during the removal of the encampment. The WPS said Tyler Demarchuk, 27; Patrick Neilen, 34; Aaron Lee Dumas, 45; Eduardo Alberto Barahona, 55; Krystal Lisa Kerriann Jensen, 35; Monique Cusson, 36; and Ashley Catcheway, 39; were charged with obstructing peace officers and depositing items in the legislative precinct that support extended stay.

None of the charges against any of the 12 arrested have been tested in court.

Police said they also seized multiple weapons from the encampments, including three axes, a machete, a hammer, a spear, body armour, and a three-foot club.

Officers began removing the camp one day after occupants were allegedly bringing in building materials to build a new teepee to expand the camp. Approximately 40 police officers were involved in the removal of the camp, and fencing is now around the site.

‘AN EROSION OF COOPERATION’

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen said in a statement on Monday that security concerns had escalated over the past few weeks, citing verbal assaults and threats to staff and visitors.

Supt. David Dalal with the Winnipeg Police Service said police had been in contact with people at the encampment, and that there had been a change in the recent interactions.

“What we saw was an erosion of cooperation and an increase in both rhetoric and aggression and a complete unwillingness to be reasonable about restricting expansion around the camp,” he said.

The government passed a law in the spring that forbids encampments on the legislature grounds and bans people from supplying generators, firewood, and other goods.

People who break the rules can be evicted from the grounds and face fines of up to $5,000.

 

 

With files from CTV’s Katherine Dow and Jeff Keele

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