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Demonstrations and Protests

The Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) recognizes and respects everyone’s Charter Right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. We also recognize the rights of residents, businesses and visitors to a safe community.

Exercising your Charter Rights comes with responsibility for your actions. A protestor does not have the right to hurt another person, damage or destroy property or make statements that promote hatred.

The Lethbridge Police Service Public Order Unit (POU) responds to events such as demonstrations, protests and rallies. Our officers work with individuals or groups to help facilitate peaceful events.

We police behaviours, not beliefs. 

Your Rights and Responsibilities

Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees your right to believe what you choose and express your views. However, only peaceful assemblies are protected and all rights are subject to reasonable limits.

  • Gather peacefully to assert your rights
  • Express your thoughts, beliefs and opinions
  • Share your message in a lawful manner
  • Have freedom of association

  • Harm or injure anyone
  • Block or obstruct a highway
  • Cause a disturbance or take part in a riot
  • Wear a disguise during an unlawful assembly or with the intent to commit a criminal offence
  • Disobey a court order
  • Possess weapons of any kind, including substances such as tear gas
  • Trespass on private property
  • Impede a parade

  • Leave private property immediately if requested by the owner or an agent. You may be arrested and are subject to being charged with trespassing if you refuse
  • Provide your personal information if arrested by a peace officer. You are legally required to provide your information and failure to do so could result in criminal charges

Protesting unlawfully has the potential to affect your future. Charges resulting in a criminal record could result in:

  • Travel limitations
  • Possibility of limited employment prospects
  • Impacts when obtaining insurance or renting housing
  • Financial hardship due to fine payments
  • Further legal consequences if a court order is breached

The Role of the Police

  • Preserve the peace and maintain public safety
  • Work with groups who want to organize an event
  • Dialogue and work with all those affected by an event
  • In the case of traffic disruptions, work with those involved to minimize the impact on the travelling public and work to restore the orderly flow of traffic in the safest manner possible
  • Work with property owners or their agent(s) to remove people from their property if they have been asked to leave
  • Respond to unlawful events in an appropriate manner. Violence and criminal activity will not be tolerated
  • Investigate criminal wrongdoing

With an increase in global tensions, we are seeing regular protests where individuals are holding signs, using hand or body gestures or exchanging words that are offensive and harmful to community members.

While hate speech, as defined in the Criminal Code, is complex and several contextual factors have to be considered, LPS works closely with the Crown Prosecutor’s Office to review any potential hate crime behaviour at protests to determine if thresholds have been met. 

LPS provides resources at protests to ensure the safety of those participating and will identify behaviour that goes beyond offensive and into hate speech. However, officers may not hear or see everything going on, which is why it is imperative that you report hate as you see it. LPS will take every reported incident of hate seriously.


Lethbridge Police Service
135 1 Avenue South
Lethbridge, Alberta T1J 0A1

Non-Emergency Phone: 403-328-4444
General Inquiries Phone: 403-327-2210
Email: General Inquiries
(not monitored 24/7)

Hours for public access:
Monday to Friday - 7:30 am to 4:00 pm
Closed weekends and statutory holidays



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