No fines after Kelowna protest in support of Alberta church: RCMP | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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No fines after Kelowna protest in support of Alberta church: RCMP

A protest against the impact of pandemic health orders on churches brought 200 people to Kerry Park in downtown April 11, 2021.
April 12, 2021 - 10:53 AM

Mounties say the rally this past weekend in support of GraceLife Church in Alberta brought 200 people to Kelowna's downtown, and no fines were issued.

Kelowna RCMP responded to the protest at a park in downtown Kelowna at around 10:45 a.m. Sunday, April 11.

"Approximately 200 protestors were observed to be gathered in Kerry Park. Officers were on hand to ensure the safety of the public and the protestors, and to conduct an investigation into the breach of the provincial public health orders," Const. Solana Paré Officers said in an email.

Mounties remained on the scene until the crowd dispersed.

"At this time, no fines have been issued as a result of the event," Paré said.

READ MORE: Expert says gathering outside Alberta church attended by many conspiracy theorists

Pursuant to the update to the Gathering and Events Order on March 24, peaceful and lawful assemblies to protest the Gatherings and Events Orders may be conducted, she said, as long as they are compliant with the other requirements of the orders.

 Harvest Life Church pastor Art Lucier said during the gathering he wanted to see churches re-open for indoor services and, in fact, his church has been packed twice a week for the last five months.

Last week, Alberta Health Services barricaded GraceLife Church, preventing access to the building until the church complied with Alberta’s public health measures.

The church, just outside Edmonton, under Pastor James Coates, has broken COVID-19 lockdown regulations every Sunday by holding packed services.

B.C. had initially intended to allow a variance through April and part of May to allow religions to celebrate major spring holidays indoors but rescinded the exception before Easter as a part of what it's called a three-week “circuit breaker” when caseloads began to surge. 

Numbers continue to climb and in the week that followed case count numbers were toppled. On Friday B.C. reported 1,262 new cases, for a total of 109,540 cases since the start of the pandemic.

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