It won’t be like Quebec City in at least one way. Numbers.
Protesters coming to Halifax to oppose the G-7 finance ministers’ agenda will number far less than the more than 30,000 who graced la belle province last year, police and protest organizers agreed this week.
“I’d be hard-pressed to say there’ll be more than a few hundred,” said Chris Arsenault, the billeting co-ordinator for a march and demonstrations planned this week. And police agree with that estimate.
With most activists outside the Maritimes gearing up for June’s G-8 summit in Alberta instead, those coming to Halifax could number as few as 150, Arsenault said.
“We’re expecting a bus in from Fredericton and some people from P.E.I. This won’t be like Quebec City, where there were people from all over the United States or Canada.”
Arsenault anticipated there would be “sporadic” numbers from Quebec and Ontario. Halifax residents are likely to outnumber the travellers.
“This is only a ministerial meeting before the big meeting in Kananaskis. Travelling activists who only want to go to one protest are either going to be in Alberta or in Ottawa,” said Arsenault
Arsenault said he believes the local nature of the protests is a trend.
“What’s happening in Burnt Church (N.B.), the destruction of our fishery by foreign multinationals — I mean these things have hit home right here. What we have to do is bring the activism against them home right here.”
“That’s where the movement’s going.”
Nick Scott, 19, of Moncton is one of 10 friends renting a van Wednesday to come to Halifax. The high-school student went to the Quebec City protests and said what he saw there was “radicalizing.” He is planning to document the Halifax protests to raise awareness about police brutality and political issues.
Scott — an asthmatic — wants to avoid any tear gas. “The only precaution that I’ll have is a bandanna soaked in vinegar in my pocket. I don’t plan on being that close, and I don’t think anyone in the van does either.”
Metro residents will likely make up the bulk of the demonstrations.
Kelly Hopkins-Godwin, a city accountant and president of NSUPE Local 13, said all union members were invited to the protests. She said one example that motivates her to attend is the recent Harbour Solutions contract that will privatize sewage treatment. She said privatization increases secrecy about items of public interest.
“We’re not going to be able to know what’s going on inside there,” she said.
“Globalization is just another way to privatize public services.”
The biggest rallies and marches will occur Friday and Saturday. An e-mail sent out by organizers last week says Saturday’s event could include civil disobedience, depending on how many protesters show up.
FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. NoNonsense English offers this material non-commercially for research and educational purposes. I believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner, i.e. the media service or newspaper which first published the article online and which is indicated at the top of the article unless otherwise specified.