(Sue Creamore/Facebook)

Yesterday, thousands of unmasked demonstrators gathered in cities across British Columbia and other parts of the country to protest mandatory vaccination policies in the province. 

Demonstrators in Vancouver, Kelowna, Kamloops, Victoria, Prince George and Nanaimo took to the streets to voice their objection to the province’s vaccine passport set to come into effect on September 13th.

Although the federal government has not made vaccines mandatory for the general public, some provinces, including BC, are introducing their own temporary measures to limit who can participate in certain activities and visit specific businesses. 

As of September 13th, the province will require proof of vaccination for certain non-essential activities. 

The vaccine passport will require people to have at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by the outlined September date, and to be fully vaccinated in October. 

Many employers are also choosing to require their employees be vaccinated as a condition of employment. 

The protesters took to the streets, focusing specifically on targeting government buildings and hospitals. 

In Victoria, the front lawn of the BC legislature saw large crowds with anti-government, anti-vaccine and anti-vaccine passport signage.

Island Health workers in Nanaimo were verbally abused as they came and left work during the protests and one health-care member was physically assaulted. 

In a written statement issued yesterday, Island Health’s President and CEO Kathy MacNeil condemned the protesters’ actions against Island Health workers.

“What happened to our health-care teams today is not acceptable to me nor to the people and communities they serve,” said MacNeil. 

“Our health-care teams deserve respect and support, no matter what personal beliefs we hold.”

In Vancouver, protestors took to the Vancouver City Hall and the Vancouver General Hospital, blocking essential access to medical services. 

Large protests also took place in front of Kelowna General Hospital and the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan.

Similar protests broke out in Toronto after the announcement of the province’s vaccine passport.

BC Premier John Horgan also weighed in on the day’s events and showed his support of health care workers in a series of tweets: 

 

Tonight, the BC Legislature will be lit up in pink in appreciation for the province’s healthcare workers to show gratitude for their dedication and hard work during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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