In the small town of Westlock, Alberta, what was meant to be an inclusive pride crosswalk painting event, attended by local NDP MLAs, took a disconcerting turn when peace officers began policing the presence of journalists.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, June 27th, a small town in Westlock, Alberta, hosted a pride crosswalk painting event that introduced unprecedented security measures.
Two Peace Officers were stationed to guard the event area on a public road, barricaded with signs reading "Restricted Zone: No Admissions Without Authorization."
These precautions were implemented in response to potential protesters. However, it became apparent that they were also intended to keep certain reporters out of sight.
Our attempts to record the pride painting event were blocked by Peace Officers who demanded government-issued ID for access to a public road.
In addition to the police requests, members of the pride organization also demanded to see government-issued photo identification before considering our admittance to the event.
This event, taking place on a public road and attended by public officials, including NDP MLAs, was inaccessible to us.
Despite remaining outside the "restricted zone," Peace Officers threatened our reporter, Mocha Bezirgan, with arrest for being too close to the area.
Having reviewed the content of MediaBezirgan.com to determine if Mocha was a threat to the "inclusivity" of the event, the unlawful demands of the Peace Officers and members of the organization were ultimately not met.
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