'Walk for Freedom' rallies throughout Alberta protest pandemic health measures
CALGARY -- Protesters will gather in several Alberta cities this weekend to protest what organizers call an infringement of Charter rights and freedoms.
The group protests any type of shutdowns and mask-wearing as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premier Jason Kenney on Tuesday said a big reason for not locking down the province was due to an infringement of everyday Albertan’s rights and freedoms.
“Since when should governments, start with an impairment of fundamental Charter-protected rights and freedoms rather than engage in such an impairment as a last and final resort,” he said.
At the same time, Mayor Naheed Nenshi condemned such events as “illegal” on Friday because they exceeded the limit of 10 people for outdoor gatherings.
Despite the warning from the mayor on Friday, hundreds of people, all without masks and without any sign of physically distancing themselves from others, gathered outside Calgary city hall on Saturday afternoon.
Will Dove, the organizer of a website aiming to stop the lockdown for all Calgarians, says the march and demonstration is about fighting for freedoms that he thinks many Canadians have lost since the pandemic began.
"The only thing the lockdowns are accomplishing is to make people poorer," he told CTV News. "It must stop and it must stop now."
The gathering was led by Walk For Freedom, a group that has no love for the province's rules and will not comply with any health guidelines, including those that put limits on outdoor gatherings such as protests.
"Businesses are going broke and little kids are wearing masks," said Brad Carrigan, an organizer with Walk For Freedom. "We respect what Kenney did, because he didn't go overboard, but we still say it's too far and way too much."
He says he's told anyone who is ticketed for breaking the outdoor gathering restriction to fight it in court.
"We're going to backlog the court system if they do that."
Walk For Freedom marches are also scheduled for Edmonton, Red Deer and in Canmore on Sunday.