aylmer state of emergency

An Ontario town has declared state of emergency over anti-mask protest

We may be used to anti-mask protests here in Toronto by now, but it seems that other, smaller municipalities in the province are taking these types of events a little more seriously — like the town of Aylmer, which has just declared a state of emergency over a forthcoming rally.

The mayor of the town of less than 10,000 residents issued a formal declaration on Monday afternoon, stating that officials expect "civil unrest and service disruptions" due to anti-lockdown demonstrations slated for this weekend.

It defines an emergency as "an impending situation that constitutes a danger of major proportions that could result in serious harm to persons or substantial damage to property," and clarifies that the state protects volunteers, town staff and politicians from potential "litigious situations" that may arise as a result.

The "Lawful Public Freedom March" starting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday bills itself as a "family-friendly, parade-like event" that hopes to remain "peaceful, friendly and positive" with a goal of advocating for "freedom, medical freedom, and getting back to normal."

But, these types of events are known to draw large crowds of mask-flouters, potentially posing a risk to public health and safety.

Some on social media have called the state of emergency excessive, unnecessary and totalitarian, while others consider it a fair precaution in a town so small, which may not be able to handle largescale rioting, nor a spike in cases of COVID-19.

Though citizens have the right to civil demonstration, outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people are currently banned in Ontario amid the pandemic, for obvious reasons.

The town, just two hours southwest of Toronto near London, Ontario, has seen 89 cases of the virus since the onset of the health crisis.

This will be the second major anti-lockdown event it has seen, with the first seeing a turnout of hundreds just over a week ago.

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