Occupy N.S. protesters plan next move after eviction
Protesters ordered out of Halifax park Friday under camping ban
Nova Scotia protesters are planning their next move after several were arrested Friday at the Occupy Nova Scotia site as police enforced an eviction notice and dismantled tents.
Police were processing 14 people arrested during the eviction and said they should be released from custody by midnight.
Activists met at St. Andrews Church Hall to regroup, as some of the protesters were spending the night at the church.
At Victoria Park, only remnants of the protesters' camp and a small police presence remain.
Police teams descended on Victoria Park on Friday afternoon, a couple of hours after demonstrators were told to leave the city park because they were camping illegally.
Fourteen people — 12 men and two women — were arrested as of 4 p.m. AT, all for obstruction of justice, Halifax Regional Police said.
"The time has come for the encampment to end," Mayor Peter Kelly said in a statement. "Our parks are for all of the public, not an unregulated campground for some."
Demonstrators moved to Victoria Park earlier this week after agreeing to leave Grand Parade for Remembrance Day events.
They planned to return to the main park in downtown Halifax on Saturday.
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The notice said the demonstrators would not be allowed to camp in Grand Parade or any other HRM park.
Kelly said they have the right to gather and protest.
"We support that, but we don't support the use of tents," he told CBC News.
Demonstrators said they felt betrayed by the municipality, particularly the mayor. "Let him know we should not be evicted today!" the group said in a tweet.
Brian Crouse, one of the demonstrators, said they knew they were breaking municipal bylaws on Day 1.
"We’ve been doing everything we can from the very start to maintain open lines of communication with the city and the regional police and everyone involved, and this was definitely not an open communication," he said.
Tearing down tents
The CBC's Dawn MacPhee said demonstrators stood by as police began to tear down their tents. They yelled out the mayor's cellphone number and held out signs reading "Respect" and "Occupy Nova Scotia."
A little while later, several people at the site were arrested, MacPhee said.
One demonstrator told CBC News they would stay in the park even without a tent. Another person said they had nowhere else to go because the police took everything.
MacPhee said police started by removing the tents that were empty and unclaimed.
Police said demonstrators would be able to pick up their belongings later at a safe spot.
The Occupy Nova Scotia demonstration began in Grand Parade on Oct. 15, one of many demonstrations across the country inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement in the U.S.
Kelly has said police, garbage pickup and other services have cost the municipality $25,000.
He met with veterans and demonstrators in a tent on Oct. 28 to try to get them to leave Grand Parade. He urged the protesters to move to the Halifax Common, but they opted for Victoria Park.
With files from The Canadian Press