News

Protests against COVID-19 health measures continue in Alberta cities


Calgary police are advising people to stay away from the downtown area if possible

Article content

Police are monitoring truck convoys and protests in Alberta’s major cities on Saturday, including Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Advertisement

Article content

The convoys in Alberta are in support of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ that has gridlocked downtown Ottawa for the last week. Since then, other similar protests have popped up in other cities in Canada in opposition to COVID-19 public health measures.

Those protests come at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations in Alberta are at a pandemic high, with deaths from the disease mounting rapidly, including another 26 announced on Friday .

Premier Jason Kenney took to Twitter to ask protesters to keep demonstrations peaceful on Saturday as truck convoys and protesters continue to snarl roadways in several cities.

Kenney said police are responsible for ensuring public safety and can issue penalties under the Alberta Infrastructure Defence Act.

Advertisement

Article content

Alberta Teachers Association president Jason Schilling released a statement on Saturday calling on provincial officials to keep schools out of bounds for protesters. The association said protesters are entering schools, shouting, banging on lockers and forcing lockdowns.

Calgary

Calgary police reported around 1,500 people gathered at Central Memorial Park downtown Calgary in the afternoon. The protests downtown have been held every weekend for months.

CPS Staff Sgt. John Guigon said people are advised to stay away from downtown if possible.

“Right now, there aren’t any major concerns at the protest, but probably best to stay out of the area.”

Advertisement

Article content

Guigon said officers with the major event emergency management section have been liaising with the protest organizers to monitor the event.

“Right now, it hasn’t really hasn’t changed very much from what they typically do. Everyone is, knock on wood, following direction and not causing too much of a hassle right now.”

A rolling convoy in Calgary joined calls for an end to public health measures and vaccination mandates on Saturday.

Around 50 protesters met at Baker Park around 11 a.m. before leaving at 12 p.m. Vehicles drove from the park to the offramp at Nose Hill Drive NW before travelling down Stoney Trail North.

Calgary police said the convoy stuck to its planned route along Stoney Trail in a joint statement with the City of Calgary. There were minor traffic slow-downs as a result but no blockades.

Advertisement

Article content

“The convoy organizer remained in contact with police for the duration of the event. We will continue to monitor events going on in the city and will share any additional information as necessary,” the statement read.

The protest was organized by Diane Inkin, a member of Canada Unity, an online forum and discussion group affiliated with the truck convoys at the Coutts border crossing and in Ottawa.

“We are here, we want no mandates,” Inkin said before the convoy began. “This does not end until the mandates are gone.”

Vehicles took part in a rally called Operation Bear Hug Calgary to stand with others across the country who are demanding an end to all COVID-19 mandates. The convoy was escorted by police and circled around the city along Stoney Trail. Saturday, February 5, 2022.
Vehicles took part in a rally called Operation Bear Hug Calgary to stand with others across the country who are demanding an end to all COVID-19 mandates. The convoy was escorted by police and circled around the city along Stoney Trail. Saturday, February 5, 2022. Photo by Brendan Miller /Postmedia

Demonstrators were also seen protesting outside the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre near downtown Saturday.

Advertisement

Article content

On Friday, Alberta Union of Provincial Employee officials said protesters have been taunting and bullying staff entering and exiting the hospital and delaying ambulances .

Guigon said the protest didn’t amount to much on Saturday. At the time, there were no reports of ambulances being delayed or prevented from accessing the hospital, but police would act quickly if that was the case, he said.

“That would be the line in the sand. It’s perfectly fine to voice your opinion about things but impeding someone’s healthcare is not cool and unlawful.”

Edmonton

Vehicle convoys heading for downtown Edmonton started to arrive in the city’s core around noon.

In the downtown core, the east side of 109 Street south of Jasper Avenue to the Alberta legislature grounds and the High Level Bridge was lined by hundreds of people as trucks drove by honking horns. A tent was set up on the nearby plaza in front of the federal building.

Edmonton police warned yesterday of ‘significant’ disruptions to traffic  in the city due to the convoys.

Advertisement

Article content

Advertisement

Article content

Lethbridge

The Lethbridge Police Service said a slow moving convoy that had appeared earlier in the afternoon has since dispersed as of 2 p.m.

“Aside from a minor, no injury collision involving several vehicles along Scenic Drive and 16 Avenue South, the event occurred without incident,” read a Tweet sent out by LPS.

Advertisement

Article content

bgervais@postmedia.com

Twitter: @BrittGervaisAB

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.




Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

close