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Anti-COVID-19 restriction rally could see 1,000 people or more attend

David Lindsay, organizer of the anti-COVID-19 restriction rallies in Kelowna, walks along Kelowna's waterfront Saturday, Jan. 16.
February 11, 2021 - 1:13 PM

Organizers of a “mega freedom" rally that is being organized for Kelowna’s downtown this weekend expect more than 1,000 people to attend.

Residents are coming to the rally from as far as Kamloops, other areas of the Okanagan, the Shuswap and the Kootenays, according to a website called the Canadian Association for Free Expression, a group led by Paul Fromm, a Canadian white supremacist.

Speakers include those from Action4Canada, and Vaccines for Canada, which deny COVID-19 vaccinations, the pandemic and 5G, among other things.

READ MORE: 'She's a liar,' Kelowna anti-COVID-19 restriction rally organizer takes aim at Dr. Bonnie Henry

“Mega Freedom” rally organizers are encouraging participants to bring flags and signs, as well as friends and family members to the protest as well as cash for donations and merchandise.

The protest is scheduled to be held in Kelowna’s Stuart Park Saturday afternoon.

Both the head of Kelowna’s RCMP and Mayor Colin Basran have encouraged residents to avoid the rally.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said the rally is unlawful and against Public Health orders, which currently ban any form of social gathering.

The RCMP will be on scene at the rally for public safety, she said.

She said she would like to dissuade anyone from attending the march or protests, adding that while people in Canada have the democratic right to peacefully protest, these rights "do not supersede public safety."

Basran also said these protestors do not represent a majority of Kelowna’s residents who are following Public Health orders.

“I urge anyone who is thinking of travelling here to join these protests to consider. Your disregard for the safety of others is not welcome here,” he said.

During the pandemic, Kelowna’s rallies have been organized by David Lindsay, who has spent time in jail for refusing to pay taxes and has ties to Fromm.

Kelowna resident David Crawford, who has been protesting the protestors for months by standing along Highway 97 with signs that say "yay Science, yay vaccine," said he will attend the event to support healthcare workers.

"I want to support all those who cannot be there because they are on the front lines, saving lives. Including the lives of those who don’t understand science. What discomfort from the cold I will feel is far less than what people endure on a ventilator," he said.

- This story was updated at 2:50 p.m. to include a comment from Crawford.

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