A downtown protest in opposition to the province’s COVID-19 health orders took place Saturday afternoon, with Victoria police in attendance.
At least 100 maskless protesters wound through the downtown core waving signs and chanting. Attendees were not abiding by the six-metre distancing rule set out by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. One protester was seen waving a plush toy sheep on a pole with a mask covering its face.
“We really need to take education to the next level, and it’s unfortunate, but we have to question our authorities,” said protester Dean Propp. “The governments, in my opinion, are corrupt to the core both provincially and federally.”
Among those in the protest were people from HugsOverMasks, a group that routinely holds anti-mask protests.
To date, the province has seen 79,262 cases of COVID-19 and 1,348 deaths from the disease. There are currently 4,665 active cases in B.C.
READ MORE: Mandatory mask order does not violate your constitutional rights, says Victoria lawyer
In a tweet, police said they had been asked about the protest — a 2:30 p.m. march from Centennial Square to the B.C. Legislature. The protest ended up going from Centennial Square, over to Fort Street and back to the square.
We’ve been asked about the protest today. #yyj #yyjtraffic pic.twitter.com/3Se5VQXlpb
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) February 27, 2021
Police said while they support B.C.’s current health orders, they do not have the ability to enforce face-covering orders right now. The province’s Public Health Act was recently amended on Feb. 10 to include a statement on outdoor assemblies such as protests.
Officers said they would observe the protest from a distance, though they might not take action against any immediately, they can issue fines to anyone who breaks a health order at a later date. Officers later confirmed there were between 100 to 200 protesters at the event, but no incidents were recorded.
People protesting against the province’s current #COVID19 health orders seen marching in downtown Victoria moments ago.
More details: https://t.co/u8Bxjng4yr
(Photo credit: @CHEK_News)#YYJ pic.twitter.com/MlgkHplkho
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) February 27, 2021