anti lockdown protest

Toronto sees another weekend of arrests at multiple anti-lockdown protests

Anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets of Toronto this weekend for yet another time since the province issued an official stay-at-home order, which followed weeks of residents being urged to stay at home for all but essential errands.

As was the case during the demonstrations held just two days after the order went into effect, multiple arrests were made and charges laid at Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge-Dundas Square on Jan. 23.

Crowds also congregated in Queen's Park this time around to oppose rigid lockdown measures that include mandatory face coverings in indoor public places, forced business closures and more that have drawn on in Toronto for nine weeks now in an attempt to mitigate further spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, demonstrators were seen entering businesses such as Whole Foods in Yorkville and a nearby Shoppers Drug Mart location in droves without masks as they made their way around the city waving Canadian flags and holding signs with slogans such as "wake up and smell the communism" and "Ford, Tory, TPS, have you even read the Charter?"

In total, Toronto police arrested 10 people and charged seven of them on Saturday — among them, vocal anti-mask proponent Chris Sky — for defying orders under the Reopening Ontario and Emergency Management and Civil Protection Acts, which currently limit outdoor gatherings to five people.

Sky's charges include multiple counts of public mischief and common nuisance, but steep fines and arrests haven't stopped him from leading such events and flying in the face of pandemic measures in the past.

Along with noncompliance with emergency orders, other charges laid at this most recent protest include assaulting police, obstructing a peace officer and charges under the Highway Traffic Act.

As lockdowns remain in effect or tighten around the globe amid the pandemic's "second wave" and as residents await the full rollout of the vaccine, similar demonstrations have continued to take place.

One saw tens of thousands of restaurants in Italy open their doors for service despite restrictions earlier this month, while thousands of people took to the streets in cities such as Amsterdam and Vienna this weekend.

In Ontario, daily new case counts have finally been driven under the 3,000 mark for seven consecutive days now after the entire province was moved into a strict iteration of lockdown on Boxing Day.

Lead photo by

RISE via @irregularwar321

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