As anti-mandate protestors converged on the lawn of BC’s Legislature this past weekend, it was the largest pro-democracy rally in Victoria’s history, according to organizers.
We Unify Canada called it an “absolutely incredible turnout,” noting the crowd of 10,000 plus gathered in the Capital Region on Saturday to show their opposition to ongoing COVID-19 public health orders.
The “Freedom Convoy” also marched through the city’s downtown, prompting VicPD to close off sections of roads as they urged drivers to avoid the area.
A massive March in Victoria, BC against mandates.
Victoria is a left-wing city on a left-wing island off the coast of left-wing British Columbia. This is a huge turnout! pic.twitter.com/muC6nHeTat
— Don Wilson, LLB 🇨🇦 (@DNSWilson) March 7, 2022
A massive turnout was expected, however, as social media posts suggested many participants would be coming from other provinces to attend.
Following weeks of anti-mandate protests, We Unify once again invited protestors to rally in an effort “to hold the leaders of our country accountable to truth and the rule of law,” states a Facebook post.
While some provinces have scrapped mask mandates and vaccine cards, the same can’t be said for BC—but provincial health officials did suggest the possibility of removing some protocols before spring break.
On March 1st, while reiterating that masks and vaccine cards remain a crucial part of the province’s COVID-19 strategy, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said mask mandates might end.
Henry’s comment came after the easing of some restrictions last month, as personal and organized gatherings, sporting events and restaurants, bars and nightclubs in BC returned to full capacity.
Police, city officials take aim at unlawful protestors
In anticipation for Saturday, VicPD said CCTV cameras would be deployed for public safety, as officers work to ensure “people’s rights to protest safely, peacefully and lawfully are upheld.”
“Dangerous or unlawful acts will be met with de-escalation and enforcement, including Criminal Code, Motor Vehicle Act and Municipal Bylaw investigations,” said the Friday statement.
According to VicPD, the Saturday, February 26th anti-mandate protest saw officers issue 10 violation tickets for excessive noise and obstructing traffic, plus over 50 warnings for various infractions.
The City of Victoria also condemns those who unlawfully honk their horns or use airhorns, passing a motion that speeds up the ticketing process and allows police to issue violators a $125 fine, reduced to $75 if paid within 30 days.