The six protesters arrested at a Canada Post facility in Halifax on Sunday have been released from custody with orders to reappear in Halifax Provincial Court in the new year.
Brad Fougere, Austin Hiltz, Tony Tracy, Justin Witten, Darius Mirshahi and Art Bouman face charges of mischief and obstructing police officers for their involvement in the protest.
Joel Pink, the lawyer representing all six of the accused, says his clients have all been released on conditions to be on good behaviour and will be barred from protesting at Canada Post for the immediate future.
“Basically, they have to remain away from Canada Post property except for the purposes of mail, mailing their own personal items such as bills and or Christmas cards,” said Pink.
The arrests occurred as protesters blocked the gates to the Canada Post sorting facility on Almon Street on Sunday evening.
“The idea was that it was a show of solidarity,” said Suzanne MacNeil, president of the Halifax-Dartmouth & District Labour Council and wife of Tony Tracy, one of the accused.
“ claimed that we were blocking traffic but to my mind, we were at the end of a dead-end street.”
Police say they responded to reports that several vehicles were clogging up traffic on a street near the facility, “impacting two-way traffic.”
The force says it “respects and upholds the right of citizens for peaceful and safe protest,” but officers acted in the interest of public safety.
IWW K’jipuktuk – Halifax, one of the groups that took part in the protest, issued a statement on social media Sunday night. The group says some of their members were among those arrested and calls the Halifax Regional Police’s (HRP) action a “heavy-handed overreaction.”
Pink refused to provide information on whether he believed the police’s actions to be heavy-handed, saying that he had yet to review the Crown’s disclosure related to the incident.
The six protesters are scheduled to appear back in court on Jan. 6.
Protesters have been rallying outside Canada Post facilities throughout the weekend after the federal government legislated postal workers back on the job.
In a statement on Saturday afternoon, Canada Post said it had contacted police about a similar rally in Mississauga, Ont., and was considering its options to deal with the demonstrations.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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