KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) -- A downtown Halifax protest against Bill C 51, otherwise known as 'An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act', resulted in three arrests today, as protesters took to the crosswalk at the intersection of Dresden Row and Spring Garden Road.
Initially, it appeared as though the protesters, many wearing the ubiquitous 'Guy Fawkes' mask that has become increasingly synonymous with the hacker network Anonymous, had confounded the local Halifax Regional Police. The protesters were, after all, walking in single file – albeit back and forth – through a zebra-striped crosswalk. Traffic was slowed to a crawl, which was perhaps the point, but the Halifax Regional Municipality is adamant that “drivers MUST yield the right of way to pedestrians who are lawfully within a crosswalk.”
How to dismantle the mobile protest was thus likely an issue of the police needing to find the right law that was being broken.
For about ten minutes, protesters maintained control of the bustling intersection, speaking their minds through mega-phones, voicing their concerns that Bill C 51 would turn Canada into more of a police state than it already finds itself. In this, their concerns have been echoed by various groups across Canada, who span a wide array of backgrounds and interests.
At one point, a police paddy wagon drove up to the intersection and promptly arrested two women, one later identified as Gina Compton.
“This is Bill C 51!” yelled Compton, as she was led away in handcuffs.
About fifteen minutes later, as the intersection march continued, a third individual was grabbed by police on the south side of Spring Garden road. A brief scuffled ensued. Police initially noted that the man was being arrested for swearing in public, but later changed their story, noting that they had received noise complaints related to his speech-making through a mega-phone.
Oddly enough, most likely related to a lack of applicable charges, the two women initially arrested were quickly released - about thirty minutes later - after a trip to the Gottingen Street police station. Compton noted that they had not been charged with anything, nor were they made to sign any conditional release forms. They were simply warned to “stay off the streets.”
As of press time, the whereabouts of the third arrestee are unknown.
UPDATE: 8:10pm ATL - Halifax Regional Police are now tweeting that they received "several complaints" from passersby on Spring Garden Road, hence the arrest of the third individual, who has been identified as Joe Currie. Currie is likely charged under section 175 of the criminal code - 'Causing Disturbance'.
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