Paul Tuns

A Nova Scotia man was assaulted during the 40 Days for Life witness in Halifax.

The man, whom The Interim is not identifying, were “minding our own business on the side of Spring Garden Road” in Halifax, “praying my rosary” when “suddenly” a “masked woman rushed onto us from our right side,” grabbing one of the signs from the man’s hands and tearing it in half. The man said the assailant was “shouting some rhetoric about men not being able to speak about abortion” and then tried to grab the rosary in his hands; the assailant grabbed the crucifix and tore it off. The assailant then “got right up close in my face” and asked “Do you want to control women’s bodies.” The man said he was in shock and meekly answered “no.” The man said he was initially focused on retrieving the scattered pieces of the rosary. The woman grabbed at the rosary that remained in the man’s hands and ripped it apart some more before leaving.

“The other details of the attack are a blur,” the man told The Interim. “We were all so surprised and shocked by what happened that we didn’t think of taking a picture or video of her.”

There were other pro-abortion counter-protesters nearby who witnessed the assault but did nothing to stop it.

The victim of the pro-abortion belligerence is a veteran of pro-life activism, saying it was the third 40 Days for Life witness he has participated in since 2019. “I’ve had multiple encounters with pro-abortion supporters, most involving some level of rudeness and shouting insults, but have never encountered this level of violence before.”

The man called the police that evening to file a report but was told because there is no evidence to identify the assailant, “that’s the end of the case with nothing to follow up on.”

He also filed a report on a teenage boy who was harassing the 40 Days for Life demonstrators. He has film on the harassing high school student and after telling the boy he would call the police of the harassment continued, he hasn’t shown up again.

The man said, “The incident left me shaken and a little scared of what might happen to us out there,” but “It hasn’t stopped me from going out though, and we are now better prepared should this or something similar happen again.” He continues to pray during the silent vigil for an hour every weekday.

Campaign Life Coalition Nova Scotia representative Ruth Robert told The Interim she was not present during the attack, but said she is not surprised. “Every 40 Days for Life campaign that I have led, there has been at least one incident of someone stealing and/or ripping signs,” said Robert. She said the “counter-protestors have been more aggressive this year as compared to other years,” noting that “we’ve never had to call the police this often.” Robert reports that they have filed multiple police reports because of the increased belligerence targeting them, including one person who cursed the pro-life contingent and followed them when they tried to move to another corner. “He was just there to intimidate us,” said Robert.

She also said that when the regular pro-abortion counter-protestors witness the attacks on the pro-life, “they have said things like

‘you see where they’re coming from, right?’ or shrug their shoulders and smirk.” Robert concluded, “Most of them seem to think that we deserve it.”

Robert notes that they have also been attacked online, with the webpage where people sign up for 40 Days for Life being inundated with fake crass names and one person signing up with angry face, knife, chain, and watching eyes emojis, “which I thought seemed threatening.”

Robert said 40 Days for Life has officially asked that the police presence in the area be increased and she said “we have seen more police cars going around the block.”