Today, a series of protests in support of the Elsipogtog protesters have occurred across Canada, including in Halifax. Protesters began to gather along the street in front of the Irving station on Robie Street near Charles Street. They rallied for about 20 minutes, waving signs, chanting and singing, and were greeted by mostly supportive people passing by, who honked horns and gave thumbs-up. Police were present, but kept at a distance. At its height, the protesters numbered about 250.
- Billy Lewis addresses the crowd.
The crowd then went on a short march, down the southbound lanes of Robie Street, through the intersection with Cunard Street, and then to the Willow Tree intersection. There, they held up all traffic for about five minutes. Then they moved onto the Common. Along the way, I heard one protester thanking the drivers for their patience. Most of the drivers either didn't react at all or honked horns in support. One or two expressed anger. "I have to pick up my child at day care," said one.
But given the gravity of the situation in Elsipogtog, and given the charged political debate over fracking, there has to be some toleration for reasonable disruptive protests. And as disruptions go, today's was minor, certainly less than that caused by a fender bender on one of the bridges. The cops at the scene acted reasonably, and with restraint. Democracy wins.