POLITICS
10/28/2011 01:34 EDT | Updated 12/28/2011 05:12 EST

Talks to move Occupy Nova Scotia encampment will continue into next week

HALIFAX - Talks will continue between protesters, the mayor of Halifax and officials of the Royal Canadian Legion as they try to resolve differences over the Occupy Nova Scotia encampment in front of city hall.

All parties emerged from a tent in the windblown square Friday afternoon to say their hour-long discussion was respectful, but that it would take longer to reach an agreement.

"They have been very co-operative and we expect we'll have a very positive outcome," said Mayor Peter Kelly, who has asked that the square be vacated so city crews can clean it up for Remembrance Day ceremonies.

"We'll have to let the process take its course with dialogue tonight and over the weekend, but hopefully we'll have an answer by early next week."

Jean Marie Deveaux, president of the legion's Nova Scotia/Nunavut command, said she's confident the protesters will respect the needs of veterans.

"All we ask is to let us have the cenotaph for that one day to remember our veterans," she said shortly after crawling out of the tent where talks were held.

"They fought and died overseas so that we have the right to free speech and to rally and to protest."

The Grand Parade, where the protesters have set up their encampment, is the main venue for annual Remembrance Day ceremonies that draw as many as 5,000 people.

"This place is full and we need every space we can get, as well as time to prepare," said Kelly.

The mayor has offered the protesters help in moving to a new location on a city green space a few blocks away.

Protester John Thibeau said earlier Friday that they are prepared to find common ground.

"We want to reach out to the mayor's office and say that, despite some of the things that have happened around here the past few days, we are still willing to be co-operative," he said.

"We're still working to make sure that everyone is happy and gets accommodated."

The Halifax protest has been peaceful and is one of several across Canada prompted by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York.