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Chrystia Freeland physically blocked by protesters during Halifax visit (3 photos, video)

Freeland said this is the first time she has been physically prevented from doing her job
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Protesters gathered to disrupt the Deputy Prime Minister's visit to Halifax Wednesday afternoon.

In solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en First Nation's opposition to the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline -- which will cross their traditional territories -- about 30 people carrying signs and chanting waited at One Government Place for Chrystia Freeland to arrive for her meeting with Premier Stephen McNeil.

Freeland and McNeil held a scheduled photo opportunity at the beginning of the meeting. 

The two spoke to the media for about three minutes, and as they shook hands and stood up, one reporter asked, "Do you have anything to address to Canada's Indigenous peoples," however the pair left the room without comment.

Freeland's next stop was Halifax City Hall to meet with Mayor Mike Savage, where the situation became confrontational when she was physically blocked from entering the building.

After Halifax Regional Police cleared the entrance enough so Freeland could get through the door, she addressed the situation with reporters.

"It seemed to me to be a group of young people with strongly and passionately held views, that is something I very much respect," Freeland said.

"Having said that, I think that it is equally important for all of us to respect each other," she added. "And that means it's important for protesters to respect the rights of other Canadians to do their jobs, whatever those jobs may be. Today my job as Deputy Prime Minister is to meet with the great representatives of Halifax."

Freeland said this is the first time she has been physically touched and physically prevented from doing her job, but she says she doesn't travel with security and doesn't plan to start.

When asked what the protesters had to say to her, Freeland responded, "I think some words were used that I won't repeat on television."

With files from Meghan Groff and Matthew Moore




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