Anti-vax protestors creating problems for emergency vehicles at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Anti-vax protestors creating problems for emergency vehicles at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops

Anti-vax protestors are seen outside Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021.
September 01, 2021 - 2:06 PM

Hundreds of anti-vax protestors created problems for emergency vehicles outside Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops this afternoon.

Carrying picket signs the crowd, which included adults and children, sprawled just west of 1 Avenue, in front of Royal Inland Hospital and Kamloops Law Courts, to 5 Avenue today, Sept. 1.

They stayed on the sidewalk for the most part, but their large number is a concern for emergency vehicles, including ambulances trying to find a way through the crowd.

Security guards at the hospital said they were tried to maintain space for patients and staff to move in and out of the hospital, allowing operations at Royal Inland Hospital to continue.

READ MORE: Kamloops nurse worried vaccine protest at hospital will bring disruptions

Many of the protesters held signs saying, "freedom of choice" and "my body my choice," in protest of the B.C. government's public health order that will require people to confirm their vaccine record for certain services.

Police were on the scene, but Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Const. Crystal Evelyn said they didn't have a large presence because it was a peaceful protest.

Officers monitoring the protest witnessed a man throw multiple eggs at protesters. Police arrested the man and held him in a cell, but he was later released with a court date. An investigation is continuing as charges of assault with a weapon are pending approval, RCMP said.

There were protests in other cities in B.C. today, including one in Kelowna. RCMP issued a statement warning drivers to avoid the area around Kelowna General Hospital.

Emergency Health Services said it didn't redirect any ambulances due to the protests in B.C.

"There has been some reports of slowdowns as paramedics navigate through congested areas. We’re doing our best to arrive as safely as possible at hospital emergency departments around the province," spokesperson Shannon Miller said in an emailed statement to iNFOnews.ca.

READ MORE: Most Kamloops, Okanagan businesses support vaccine passports: Chambers of commerce

"We can confirm the demonstrations outside the Royal Inland Hospital did not disrupt hospital services or operations today," an emailed statement from Interior Health reads. "While we respect each individual's right to peaceful demonstration, we hope the actions today do not deter eligible individuals from getting immunized against COVID-19 to protect themselves and their loved ones as soon as they can."

Premier John Horgan issued a statement about the protests in support of health-care workers.

"Health-care workers have been true heroes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, working long hours in difficult conditions to care for us, our loved ones and to keep our communities safe," Horgan said in the statement. "While everyone has the right to peaceful protest, the targeting and harassment of health-care workers at health-care facilities today is completely unacceptable. We stand by our health-care workers and support them fully.

"The intent of every COVID-19 guideline and restriction that we've put in place since the beginning of the pandemic is to keep people healthy. That remains our number-one priority and we will take the steps we need to, to save lives and keep people safe as the vast majority of British Columbians expect."

— This story was updated at 3:40 p.m., Sept. 1, 2021 with a statement from Kelowna RCMP and B.C. Emergency Health Services.

— This story was updated at 5:05 p.m., Sept. 1, 2021 with information from Kamloops RCMP regarding an alleged assault.

— This story was updated at 5:19 p.m., Sept. 1, 2021 with a statement from Premier Horgan.

— This story was updated at 5:40 p.m., Sept. 1, 2021 with a statement from Interior Health Authority.


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