“Get up!” And “need for freedom”, at one point up to 2,000 people marched through the streets of Ailmer, Camel, calling for an end to public health measures such as wearing a mask and physical distance to encroach on their rights.
With the support of other groups holding similar rallies in Ottawa and Toronto, protesters gave signs that “facts on fear” and “nothing new are common”.
The parade was attended by a large number of people from the large religious communities in the town.
“I’m here to stand up for freedom. The freedom not to be overbearing to the government, the freedom to meet with those we love, the freedom to go where we want to go,” said Herma von Meppelen Shepink from nearby St. Thomas. To show her support.
The incident came the same day Ontario reports new single-day record In 1,132 COVID-19 cases.
With a population of 7,500, the town of Ailmer, Pop. 7,500, despite having two counties and two large cities in southwestern public health, with the highest case rate in the surrounding community and the highest in the health area. Public health officials in and around the area said the rally was dangerous because the combination of large groups not wearing masks was destructive to the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The rally was organized by an ailmer named Kimberly Newdorf with the support of the controversial Church of God pastor Henry Hildebrand, who fought against public health measures and closed his church from the beginning of the epidemic.
“I’m here to express my opposition to an authoritarian government. I want to show support for this community. People are here for masks, I’m here for freedom,” said Catherine Carter, of Windsor. Went to similar rallies in Ottawa.
“I see this movement growing over the last six months. Loud people, good people listen to us.”
As news of the protest, and those from other cities spread across Ilmer, the mayor declared a state of emergency, releasing more resources to the police.
Ailmer police and Ontario Provincial Police officers stood by as they rallied at the East Elgin Community Complex and then marched through town.
Supporters of public health measures in the town held their own rally in the morning, and some protesters marched and covered the streets.
“This is my home. Islemer adheres to the majority mask requirements, but we have this small group that brings in hundreds and hundreds of people from outside the community, encouraging them to shop in our stores,” said Anastasia Gelinas. “And the virus certainly spreads, and they don’t care.”
“They are spreading terror through this community. I’m worried about businesses in town and town. Some people quit their jobs because so many people are coming in without masks. I’m embarrassed. The town, the vast majority, is not like that.”
Mike Moore was among a large number of protesters shouting “Protect your neighbors, wear a mask!”
“I believe we are in an epidemic with coronavirus and we need to take it seriously. The government has made masks mandatory for a reason,” he said. “I’m embarrassed. I’ve never seen this in a quiet community before.”