Regina police are expecting the best, but preparing for the worst, ahead of Thursday night’s Premier’s fundraising dinner.
If the dinner in Saskatoon in April was any indication, protesters will be in full force, protesting March’s provincial budget.
Regina police Chief Evan Bray said he’s expecting there to be protesters.
“We’re also expecting peaceful protesting and we’re encouraging our protesters in Regina to act accordingly,” he said ahead of the dinner. “Being out there, being able to protest … and being able to have your message heard in a peaceful and respectful way is the right of Saskatchewan citizens.”
The key words there: peaceful and respectful.
“I also expect that we’re not going to have criminal behaviour and we’ll have officers out on hand there to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Bray continued.
The police chief pointed out officers will be there to protect everybody – from those attending the dinner to protesters to those heading to the nearby Mosaic festival.
Concerns rise from the Saskatoon event, where hundreds of protesters showed up. It was a tense situation, with protesters blocking the parking lot into the event. Shouting matches also developed between the two sides.
“I know there were problems in Saskatoon,” Bray acknowledged. “I think it was one of those situations that probably escalated.”
Bray said overall, he’s optimistic that the protest will be peaceful, as he believes organizers of these protests intend it to be peaceful.
“But you don’t always control the mind and the body of everybody who’s in your group.”
– With files from Kevin Martel.