Nova Scotia

Occupy protesters upset groups

Tensions were high Wednesday in Grand Parade, where Occupy Halifax demonstrators flew a flag that upset some former residential school students in town.

Tensions were high Wednesday in Grand Parade, where Occupy Halifax demonstrators flew a flag that upset some former residential school students in town.

The demonstrators flew a Mohawk Warrior flag, who some in Canada's aboriginal community say symbolizes unity, but others say it's associated with violence.
The raising of the Mohawk flag in Grand Parade upset some people in town for a residential school healing conference. (CBC)

Across the street from the square, hundreds of former residential school students were in Halifax for a healing conference.

Some felt flying the flag was disrespectful, and didn't hesitate to tell the demonstrators how they felt.

Some people who were attending the healing conference told CBC News that the Mohawk flag has become a common sign of protest.

The flag has been flown at protests such as the Oka Crisis of 1990, in which 200 Mohawks from the Kanesatake reserve marched through Oka protesting golf expansion plans, encroaching on their burial ground and the Caledonia land claim protest of 2006.

The flag was taken down for a short time, but put up again.

Mayor Peter Kelly has given the demonstrators almost two weeks to vacate the area in which they've camped in since Oct. 15.

Peter Kelly said the city needs to clean up the Grand Parade to prepare it for a Dignity Day Ceremony by the Atlantic Jewish Council on Nov. 9 and a Remembrance Day event on Nov. 11.

Remembrance Day worries

"It’s a Remembrance Day celebration for the soliders who fight for our rights for a free and democratic society, that’s exactly why we’re here."

Bob Baker said he worries the Remembrance Day ceremony will be disrupted by the demonstrators.
About a dozen people have camped out in Halifax's Grand Parade since Oct. 15. ((Phonse Jessome/CBC))

"I don't think it's right. I think it's pretty disgraceful they would be there on Remembrance Day. That day is for the veterans. They've got to remember if it wasn't for the veterans, they wouldn't be able to protest," Baker said.

Kelly is asking protesters to leave by 5 p.m. on Nov. 6.

The mayor also said the city has "respected the protesters' right to peaceful assembly, they have made their issues known, and now it is time for them to return the Grand Parade to the people of the Halifax Regional Municipality."

However, the dozens of protesters who have camped in the central square say they are surprised by the directive, adding they've been well-behaved.

"It would be nice if they took the time to try to come down here and figure out a way for everything to exist at once," said demonstrator James Wiseman.

Demonstrators told CBC News Wednesday they are discussing the idea of moving out of the square.

The release from the mayor did not, however, mention any consequences should the Occupy Halifax protesters stay past the deadline.

Kelly also said he was open to finding an alternate venue for the demonstrators.