No charges laid in Saskatoon’s anti-mask protest, doctor concerned about virus transmission
SASKATOON -- Police say no charges have been laid in Saturday’s rally, where hundreds protested the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Saskatchewan public health order, outdoor gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 30 people.
“No charges have been laid at this time,” Kelsie Fraser, a spokesperson for the Saskatoon Police Service, wrote in an email to CTV News. “As was the case with an anti-mask protest downtown and at Midtown several weeks ago, the enforcement came after an investigation.”
In November, a key participant in an anti-mask protest at Midtown Plaza was fined $2,800.
On Saturday, protesters flooded Saskatoon’s Victoria Bridge, with some holding signs reading, “Protect my rights”, “I will not be muzzled”, and “It’s not science, it’s control.”
Traffic was blocked by police to allow for protesters to pass.
Fraser said police reached out to organizers ahead of the protest to “ensure the protest remains peaceful” and “there aren’t any collisions or conflicts with other members of the public.”
Officers provided a similar escort service for the Black Lives Matter protest in June.
Pediatrician Dr. Ayisha Kurji said he's seen the pressures put on Saskatchewan’s hospitals as a result of COVID-19 and fears large events, such as the one on the weekend, will cause a spike transmission rates.
“Anytime I see anyone gathering together, I have fear that there’s going to be more COVID spread and it’s going to put more strain on our healthcare system,” Dr. Kurji said.
She said enforcement is a key component of the public health order, so people understand the severity of the rules.
“I think we have a responsibility right now, to have the rules enforced to show how important this is … I do think that's an important piece that we haven't seen enough of yet,” Dr. Kurji said.
CTV News has reached out to the Ministry of Health and is awaiting a response.