Dozens gather at cafe to rally against health orders in Alberta

Dozens gather at cafe to rally against health orders in Alberta

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a cafe in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta., for the “Save Alberta Campout Protest.”

Alberta Health Services has said the provincial government will take legal action to stop any planned protests of COVID-19 public health orders, including the one outside the cafe.

On Wednesday, AHS said it closed the Whistle Stop Cafe after the agency received more than 400 complaints against the business since January.

Health authorities said the cafe will remain closed until its owner, Chris Scott, can demonstrate the ability to comply with health restrictions.

While a large crowd of people without masks stood together, cheering, clapping and eating, RCMP officers stood to the side on Saturday as Scott took to the stage and rallied the crowd to join him in what he called “peaceful” civil disobedience.

Officers wearing body cameras said they were maintaining order and educating gatherers who weren’t wearing a mask on COVID-19 regulations.

Under the injunction, RCMP officers have been authorized to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person at the rally who contravenes public health orders.

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The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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