Mirror – RCMP led Protestants to an anti-lockdown rally outside a central Alberta cafe Saturday, after the establishment was closed earlier this week by health officials.
Despite torrential rain and a court order, hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Cafe in the hamlet Mirror, 66 miles northeast of Red Deer, for the Save Alberta Campout Protest.
Protesters were there to support cafe owner Chris Scott and challenge public health orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
An RCMP spokesman said officials took the first three hours of the protest to train protesters over COVID-19 regulations and to notify them that they were violating the instruction.
“There was at one point a decision to start enforcement,” Cpl said. Troy Savinkoff. “That was around 4pm”
Savinkoff said police would provide an in-depth update on how many people were ticketed later Saturday.
On Wednesday, AHS said it would close the cafe after the agency received more than 400 complaints about the company since January. Health authorities said the cafe will remain closed until Scott can demonstrate the ability to follow health restrictions.
Alberta Health Services said after hearing about plans for the protest that the provincial government would take legal action that would allow RCMP officials to use reasonable force in arresting and removing any person at the rally who is in violation of public health orders.
But that did not stop people without masks from cheering and clapping when Scott stood on a stage and encouraged them to fight for their freedom.
‘I have been accused of many things here. They think it’s about money. They think it’s about popularity. I could not care less about that, ‘Scott told the audience.
“I’m not happy that someone is telling me what to do with my body or how I can earn an income.”
Scott then asked the crowd to follow COVID-19 regulations at the rally because of the instruction.
Three hours later, RCMP officers with body cameras began handing out tickets under the Public Health Act to those who left the area to attend the illegal gathering.
Last weekend, hundreds of people gathered at Bowden, also in central Alberta for a pre-advertised maskless No More Lockdowns protest rodeo.
Days later, the prime minister announced stronger restrictions and doubled fines for spot victims.