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COVID-19 measures protested by students, anti-vaccine activists outside Mount Royal University

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CALGARY -

A small protest was held in front of Mount Royal University (MRU) Thursday to speak out against Alberta post-secondary schools' vaccination rules. 

About 120 people picketed in front of MRU to call for an end to the school's immunization policy, which could push some students off campus. 

Next week at the university, unvaccinated students will be on the financial hook for their own rapid tests to access in-person classes.

And starting in January, they won't be allowed inside at all. 

Many other education facilities in the province -- including the University of Calgary and SAIT -- will take similar stances in 2022. 

The event drew students from MRU and other post secondary institutions in the city but the majority of people CTV News talked with at the protest said they were not actively attending any university or college classes. 

Artur and Dawid Pawlowski -- both recently fined, placed under probation and ordered to include disclaimers when expressing their views regarding public health orders -- were also at the event. 

By and large, post-secondary vaccine mandates are being followed. MRU boasts vaccine rates of 82 and 93 per cent in students and staff, respectively. 

At the University of Calgary, those numbers are even higher, at 93 and 97 per cent. 

Both facilities have offered vaccinations on campus throughout the semester. 

"Everyone here wants to be safe and they should respect that," pre-nursing student Kariena Sethi said. "If they can't, we're OK with them not being here. They're putting our lives in danger and they're putting other peoples lives in danger."

"I'm just trying to learn, so I would kind of like to get in (to the building) without worrying about people yelling and spitting without a mask on," Zack Smith added. 

Student Kate Hannah approached one protestor to listen to their anti-vaccine argument. She was met with a monologue about Nazi Germany, false conspiracies and vaccines that could "destroy" someone's health. 

"I don't understand why they have to come to a university where we pay so much money to be here," Hannah said. "We don't decide the laws, we don't decide the mandates, we are not government workers."

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