Abortion protest in Charlottetown turns violent

Man arrested after pushing anti-abortion protester, part of 60-some protesters on P.E.I. from Ontario

Nigel Armstrong NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca
Published on August 7, 2014
anti-abortion protest

Published on 07 August 2014

Paul Gordon, left, of Belleville, Ont. and his wife Nancy talk with a paramedic from Island EMS following a scuffle on the sidewalk by the University of Prince Edward Island. The couple and some of their eight children are part of a group of nearly 60 anti-abortion protestors on P.E.I. this week to protest an international reproductive rights workshop at the university.<br /><br />

Photos by THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

anti-abortion protest 2

Published on 07 August 2014

A girl sits, in tears, surrounded by anti-abortion protesters as they debrief following a violent confronatation with a lone male across University Avenue from the main entrance to UPEI Thurs., Aug. 7, 2014.

Photos by THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

anti-abortion protest 4

Published on 07 August 2014

Members of the group Show the Truth gather to talk about the arrest of a man who pushed one of their members to the ground Thurs., Aug. 7, 2014. The protesters were assembled outside, opposite the main entrance of UPEI when the confrontation took place about 5:30 p.m.

Photos by THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

anti-abortion protest 3

Published on 07 August 2014

A rented bus carring some of the nearly 60 members of <a href="http://www.showthetruth.ca/#/home/" target="_blank">Show the Truth</a> anti-abortion protest group leave the scene of a confrontation that occurred about 5:30 p.m. Thurs., Aug. 7, 2014. The group was protesting outside opposite the entrance of UPEI where an international reproductive rights conference is underway.

Photos by THE GUARDIAN/Nigel Armstrong

A man walking past anti-abortion protesters assembled opposite  the entrance to UPEI pushed one to the ground and was arrested Thursday afternoon.

Close to 60 members of the national anti-abortion group Show the Truth have traveled to P.E.I. this week, mostly from Ontario.

They are here because of an international conference being hosted by the University of Prince Edward Island titled Abortion: The Unfinished Revolution.

On Wednesday the anti-abortion group stirred controversy in Charlottetown by handing out postcards with a graphic photo alleged to be of an aborted fetus.

Those same images and more were on display with hand-held posters and in-ground, smaller signs along University Avenue by the campus Thursday morning for about three hours. The group then moved out the avenue to an area around the Charlottetown Mall at mid-day, before moving back to the sidewalk opposite the main entrance gate of UPEI later in the afternoon.

Just before 5:30 p.m., a lone, young male came walking along the sidewalk on the west-side of University Ave. by Browns Court, shouting and kicking at the in-ground signs placed in the grass by members of Show the Truth.

At one point, as the man started to move through the main protest group, he shoved Paul Gordon of Belleville, Ont. to the ground.

UPEI Campus Police officers had been keeping watch on the protest all day and saw the looming confrontation unfold. They moved across the intersection and arrested the man, holding him until Charlottetown Police Services arrived to take over the investigation.

Island EMS also arrived to check Gordon but he was not injured sufficiently to warrant transport.

It was all too much for children in the anti-abortion protest group, as teenage girls wept while seated on the grass, surrounded by shocked-looking adults.

"He was grabbing signs and throwing them to the ground and when he got to my husband he threw my husband down," said Nancy Gordon, wife of the victim.

The assailant did not appear to be intoxicated but was clearly very intense, said Nancy.

Nancy said they have encountered similar confrontations at other protests in the past.

The Gordons said they were invited to P.E.I. by an acquaintance who lives on the Island.

The Gordons are parents to eight children.

"We have three or four here at the protest," said Paul as he waited to sign off on a written report by paramedics.

The group loaded into a white bus, saying they are planning protests around the capital for the next few days, but would not release any details, saying it was the policy of the group to reveal nothing of their plans.

NArmstrong@TheGuardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/NigelPEI