Much as it did after the March 20 event, Greater Sudbury Police told Sudbury.com officers will be “following up” with the organizers of the anti-pandemic restrictions “Freedom Rally” that was held downtown on March 27.
That event was again organized by the group MADSudbury (for Mothers Against Distancing). The demonstration was peaceful and featured a celebratory, congenial atmosphere. Protesters carried signs, waved Canadian flags, blew bubbles and sang the national anthem during the time Sudbury.com was on the scene.
An event organized by the same group last weekend drew as many as 200 people.
JR Demellweek, who posted a notice about the rally to the MADSudbury Facebook page, told Sudbury.com at the event that MADSudbury “is about freedom of choice” when it comes to mask-wearing, business opening restrictions and other pandemic responses.
The March 27 event was much smaller than the previous week’s, attracting some 50 or 60 people compared to the upwards of 200 who attended the March 20 event.
Police Liaison Team officers and city bylaw officers were on hand at both events to educate participants about ways to protest in a COVID-safe way. They were also taking photos and video to gather evidence for possible charges to be laid under the Reopening Ontario Act.
The evidence that was gathered is the information police said they would be following up on.
“The role of police during demonstrations is public order maintenance while ensuring public safety and peaceful assembly,” GSPS spokesperson Kaitlyn Dunn told Sudbury.com this week. “This was accomplished by officers from our Police Liaison Team, who were present at the rally outside of the provincial tower on Larch Street on Saturday afternoon where approximately 50 community members were present.”
Police said the event was peaceful and didn’t impede the flow of traffic on Paris Street.
“Officers will follow up with organizers this week and we continue to work in collaboration with CGS (City of Greater Sudbury) and PHSD (Public Health Sudbury & Districts) in relation to enforcement of the COVID-19 provincial and federal orders,” Dunn said in an email.
“Our approach to enforcement of Emergency Orders remains the same as throughout the pandemic, which includes proactive work, education and enforcement for homeowners, business owners and event organizers as applicable.”