Anti-mask 'freedom rally' coming to Kamloops this weekend | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Anti-mask 'freedom rally' coming to Kamloops this weekend

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March 25, 2021 - 4:00 PM

Handouts for a so-called "freedom rally" in Kamloops this weekend references a local business, but they aren't a part of it.

READ MORE: No fines issued to organizers of Kelowna's 'mega rally' against COVID-19 restrictions

Anti-masker rallies have regularly taken place in front of Tumbleweed Toys, but owner Vanessa Gammel says their staff haven't had confrontations with the protesters.

"My staff are nervous when they come in on Saturdays and the protesters are outside, but thankfully they haven't come to harass us at all," Gammel said.

She also stressed that while the protesters are regularly near her store, Tumbleweed Toys is "in no way affiliated nor supportive" of the anti-maskers.

READ MORE: RCMP investigating camping music festival near Kamloops

Organizers are planning their rally for Riverside Park at noon before moving en masse back to the usual location near Tumbleweed Toys, according to an event poster. 

It's unclear how police will handle it. While police are aware of it, they haven't answered questions about enforcement of social distancing measures. When asked about previous rallies, they have stated that it is important to respect the "democratic right to lawful and peaceful protest."

Most recently, they've stated this regarding a recent music festival that occurred near Kamloops 13 kilometres up Tranquille-Criss Creek Road.

It is unclear who the organizers of the event are. Police sent a single officer to that event and haven't said if they issued any tickets or identified the organizer.

Which this rally appears to be stepping up efforts in Kamloops, it's been a regular event in Kelowna. People concerned about the loss of various freedoms to pandemic restrictions have taken over Stuart Park every Saturday for months, even attracting other residents protesting the protesters. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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