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iN VIDEO: Anti-COVID-19 restriction 'mega rally' doesn't create anticipated crowd

A protest against COVID-19 restrictions was held in Kelowna's Stuart Park, Feb. 13, 2021.
February 13, 2021 - 2:49 PM

The anti-COVID-19 restriction "mega rally" today was underwhelming to those who had anticipated a big crowd.

Kelowna resident David Crawford, a healthcare worker who has been carrying signs that oppose the protests since December along Highway 97, has started carrying his signs around Stuart Park.

“I was worried about a confrontation (but it appears to be peaceful.) By the way they were pumping it up I was expecting 1,000 people but there’s nowhere near that many people,” Crawford said.

Skaters on Stuart Park’s ice rink also got a front-row seat to the anti-COVID-19 restriction "mega rally.".

Darcy Robson, from Lake Country, said the City of Kelowna had warned those who booked a skating time Feb. 13 that there would be a protest and he decided to go anyway. 

“I respect their concern for freedom of choice, but overall I just want to make sure everyone is healthy. At the end of the day it’s -12 C and (the mask) is keeping my face warm,” he said.

When his kids asked what was happening he told them “people have opinions about the sickness and one of the nice things about the country we live in is that we can express those opinions.”

The city sent him an email yesterday, Jan. 12, warning that the protest would be there, he said.

“I feel like the government is trying to do their best to make sure everyone’s healthy. At the end of the day, if you do a little research and see what’s going on in other countries, particularly south of us, they could be doing a lot worse job. I realize they could be doing better, but they could be doing a lot worse so you have to keep things into perspective.”

Darcy Robson, from Lake Country, and his family skate on Stuart Park's ice rink Saturday, Feb. 13, beside a COVID-19 anti-restriction protest.
Darcy Robson, from Lake Country, and his family skate on Stuart Park's ice rink Saturday, Feb. 13, beside a COVID-19 anti-restriction protest.

The anti-COVID-19 restriction “mega rally”  prompted police and Kelowna’s Mayor Colin Basran to issue a warning to residents to avoid the protest, but it did not come close to the numbers that were expected.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP, Mayor warn against attending COVID-19 'mega rally'

Roughly 300 people joined the controversial organizer of these events, David Lindsay, known for his ties to an alleged white supremacist and his jail-time spent for refusing to pay taxes, in Stuart Park, some coming as far as the Kootenays and Kamloops.

Protesters played music and carried signs that said “honk for Freedom” and “just say no to the COVID-19 scam,” donning “freedom” swag before a typical march along Highway 97. Protests of this nature have been held in Kelowna's downtown for months. Participants also encouraged hugging and handshaking.

One man who stood above the crowd, opposing their messages with his own sign, which read “Defeat Trumpism, fight for democracy,” was questioned by the anti-maskers.

The small group of regular anti-protestors, carrying megaphones, were also on scene across the street, as were the police.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said via video that the weekend’s findings “will be shared with our partners at the Provincial Health Authority and the B.C. Prosecution Service and anyone not following the regulations set out by the public health orders can face fines.

Provincial health orders preventing any gatherings remain in place at least until the end of the month.

 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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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