LETHBRIDGE: Tempers flared at a local high school Monday when a group of abortion protesters stationed themselves outside the school carrying graphic photos of human remains. About 30 students from Lethbridge Collegiate Institute lined up across from a group calling themselves "pro-life activists."
Administrators said the group's controversial message wasn't welcome on school property, but organizers said it's their right to publicly express their opinion. "The intent behind showing the pictures is to show the evidence of abortion, because abortion is very common in our society today," said Maaike Rosendal, the spokesperson for the Abortion Awareness Project. The group has adopted an "in-your-face" approach to abortion protest, modelled after an initiative called "Choice" Chain, which has demonstrated in large centres like Calgary and Ottawa this year. "Choice" Chain uses large-sized photos of fetus remains, purportedly the product of abortions, to communicate their message.
Around lunchtime, the demonstration turned into a shouting match, when students faced off against the protestors-questioning their message and their right to be on school property. Rosendal said she told police ahead of time, but didn't notify school administrators. School principal Bill Bartlett told Country 95 News the group didn't have a permit to protest on the sidewalk outside the school, so he joined police in asking them to leave.
While the conflict didn't escalate to violence, opposition from students was fierce. Bartlett suggested an event like this wasn't the best way to get through to them. "They could have gone through our board office and talking with the people there. Basically working with us, rather than against us, would have been better," he said.
Meanwhile, Rosendal deemed the event a "success." "We think it's a success when we can open the abortion debate. We hear all the time from our government that the abortion debate is closed, but clearly it's not." Her group sent a press release to local media Monday saying they plan to demonstrate at several other local high schools this week.
Photo by Country 95 News
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12/4/2013 3:40:54 PM
Source: Marion Warnica, Country 95 News