Nova Scotia

Pepper spray deployed, protesters arrested at Halifax Grand Parade

Halifax Regional Police responded to a planned rally and counter-protest on Saturday. Two men have been charged.

Police responded to planned rally with 4 men and a counter-protest with 150-200 people on Saturday

Halifax Regional Police had a busy Saturday dealing with with a planned rally and counter-protest at Grand Parade. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Halifax Regional Police deployed pepper spray and arrested two men on Saturday at Grand Parade in Halifax during a planned rally and counter-protest.

The rally was held by the National Citizens Alliance and the counter protest was organized by the Halifax Against Hate group. Both groups had permits.

At 10 a.m., police said Halifax Against Hate set up at Grand Parade with about 150 to 200 people. At noon, police said the National Citizens Alliance showed up with four men.

"Police spoke with both sides in an effort to keep the peace between both groups," Halifax Regional Police said in a news release.

Police said the National Citizens Alliance was not able to set up in Grand Parade.

While that group was attempting to set up, police said one of the members of the National Citizens Alliance was assaulted by a man with Halifax Against Hate.

A 34-year-old man from Halifax was arrested and charged with breach of the peace.

Police said a "large number of protesters" took to the streets. Police said multiple patrol officers went to Grand Parade to "restore order" and "separate the two groups."

Groups leave, then return

Shortly after, police said both groups left the area.

But at about 2:15, police said the National Citizens Alliance returned and set up a speaker system and a sign.

Police said members of Halifax Against Hate returned less than 45 minutes later wearing masks and "swarmed" the National Citizens Alliance.

"One male wearing a mask ripped a sign and took it with him, while other known persons assaulted the National Citizens Alliance," police said.

Police arrested the man who damaged the sign and left with the sign.

Police say officer swarmed

While making the arrest, police say the officer who was making the arrest was also swarmed.

Police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

Protesters from both groups left Grand Parade without further incident, police said.

Police charged a 28-year-old man from Halifax with unlawful assembly, property damage and theft under $5,000.

He was treated by paramedics for pepper spray.

Police said he will be released with a Halifax court date and an undertaking with conditions.

No one was reported to police as being injured.