Close to 40 people gathered Sunday (Nov. 22) outside Cherry Lane Mall in Penticton to protest the measures that have been implemented to control the spread of COVID-19.
The crowd of unmasked individuals hit the street after a pep-talk from the rally’s main organizer. Multiple passing cars honked in support of “ending the lock-down.”
Approximately 40 unmasked people gathered outside Cherry Lane Mall in Penticton Sunday afternoon to protest the measures in place to control the spread of COVID-19. This marks the first official anti-lockdown protest staged in Penticton. #Penticton #antimaskers #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/tzbXIXB8Q2
— Jesse Day (@jessewilliamday) November 22, 2020
Many protesters cited unsubstantiated claims about the virus and the belief that their “rights are being violated” as reasons for their attendance.
The rally’s organizer David Lindsay said his group “CLEAR” has staged other rallies previously in Kelowna. Lindsay also said the protesters in Penticton plan to demonstrate every weekend until the measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus are lifted by the provincial government.
“Our goal is to … let them know that we are not wearing masks and not complying with their order. Period,” Lindsay said.
The protest comes as coronavirus cases in B.C. and across Canada have hit all-time highs. On Thursday, Nov. 19 the B.C. government announced that masks are now mandatory in all public indoor spaces and restricted non-essential travel, among other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
As of Sunday (Nov. 22) morning, there have been more than 325,711 cases of COVID-19 in Canada since the pandemic began, with 11,406 deaths attributed to the virus in Canada. Five hundred fifteen Canadians have died from the virus in the last week.
According to federal government data, there are 53,907 cases currently active in the country. B.C. has so far seen a total of 25,474 cases, with 331 total deaths.
As of Friday (Nov 20), there were 7,122 active cases of the virus across the province including 227 patients in hospital, of whom 57 were in intensive care.