Nova Scotia·CBC Archives

The day hundreds of protesters stormed the Nova Scotia legislature

Nearly 30 years ago, unionized construction workers took over the Nova Scotia Legislature during a budget debate in protest of a new law.

When Premier John Savage brought his budget to the legislature in 1994, hundreds of men took over the House

When 'mob mentality' came to N.S. legislature in 1994

CBC News Nova Scotia

10 days agoVideo
From the CBC archives: In 1994, Budget Day in Nova Scotia descended into chaos as unionized construction workers took over the legislature. 2:56

The chaotic scenes beamed from the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday may not have been entirely unfamiliar to Nova Scotians of a certain age. 

On April 29, 1994, Premier John Savage's budget-day sitting of the legislature was interrupted when hundreds of unionized construction workers stormed the house and stopped the budget speech.

The protesters filled the upper seats, did the wave, booed, shook their fists and made the Nazi salute. They were angry that Savage's government was planning to let unionized and non-unionized construction workers on the same job site. 

The Liberal premier shut down the legislature and left the House of Assembly. One protester then leapt from the balcony to the floor, where he was swiftly arrested by police officers. 

"I'm really frightened that we're into a mob mentality," Opposition Leader Terry Donahoe told reporters.

The union workers cursed and jostled the premier as police escorted him out of the building. The bill to let unionized and non-unionized people work on the same site was eventually passed.