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.