N.S. protesters who clashed with police during shelter removal want charges dropped

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HALIFAX — About 90 people gathered today at a Halifax courthouse to demand that charges be dropped against 24 people arrested during an August demonstration against the removal of homeless shelters.

Defence lawyer Asaf Rashid, who represents 17 of the protesters, said during today's peaceful gathering that the Crown should drop the charges on the basis that it is not in the public interest to proceed.

The Aug. 18 demonstration outside the former Halifax public library grew tense after police arrested a man who had been sitting on the roof of one of the wooden shelters.

Officers sprayed protesters with chemical irritants, and police later donned riot gear to keep demonstrators away from the shelter when contractors arrived to cut it into pieces.

The 24 protesters have been charged with a variety of offences, including obstruction, assaulting police and resisting arrest.

Rashid says the demonstrators were legitimately defending the right of people to have housing, adding that the reaction to the protest by police was excessive.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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