toronto protest video

Anti-maskers grab and detain woman trying to walk through Toronto protest

Things got ugly (or rather, uglier than usual) this past weekend during a regularly-scheduled anti-masker march through downtown Toronto when a passerby clashed with over-zealous protesters on Queen Street.

The incident, which involved several men swarming a lone woman, pushing her, grabbing her and shouting insults, took place in the afternoon on Saturday, February 27.

Footage from the scene (starting around minute 3:55) shows one man picking the woman up in a bear hug and carrying her to a group of bike cops while she screams in terror.

The man and his compatriots yell "police!" and accuse the woman of assaulting them — ironically, as he carries her across the street against her will.

A police officer is quick to shove the man who had picked up the woman, freeing her into their protection behind a wall of cops.

The person filming (unclear, though the live video was originally posted to Facebook by Michael James Billings) yells that the woman assaulted another man, as well as himself, and that it was all captured on tape.

Video footage from another anti-masker group shows the woman coming towards the camera and striking it, though it is not know what led up to the action.

It is not clear how the dispute between the woman and members of the anti-masker group began — some witnesses who were present that day say she was simply trying to pass by the rally on the sidewalk. 

Members of the anti-masker group, however, claim that the woman "assaulted" them while trying to pass, and that she was being "aggressive."  

Either way, the resulting actions taken by protesters were nothing short of extreme. 

Several videos shot from different angles show what happened after the initial altercation at Queen near John Street on February 27.

In one, the woman can be seen crying behind the row of police as protesters mock her "fake tears" and accuse of her of lying.

"Fake female tears," yells the person filming that tape. "They lie about harassment and then they cry."

The caption of that video, as clipped and published to well-know far right anti-Muslim instigator Ron Banerjee's Facebook page, was "Today at the march: A female attacks someone and then cries when caught, playing the victim card! Lefty snowflake women sometimes LIE and claim 'harassment' or 'bullying' (like this woman is doing). DISGUSTING."

Toronto Police confirmed to blogTO that an incident did occur on Saturday, February 27, during a demonstration on Queen Street. Upon reviewing complete video footage from the scene, they said "it was established a woman had allegedly assaulted a man."

"The woman was spoken to and the complainant advised they did not wish to proceed with charges," said a TPS spokesperson. "Both parties went their separate ways."

Anti-masker rallies continue to happen in downtown Toronto (and elsewhere) at least once a week, as they have been since Ontario's first lockdown last spring. 

The events generally involve a group of very loud people chanting and waving signs about how the government is trying to control us with masks.

These loosely organized groups (there are several of them) often denounce the advice of scientists and counter with unproven theories of their own (such as one that says masks actually cause COVID-19.)

When they gather en masse, as they do each weekend for rallies or moving marches, arrests under the Reopening Ontario Act usually follow.

Still, staunch in the belief that they are being oppressed by the government, anti-lockdown advocates persist.

Not all of them are obnoxious and not all of them are violent, but it's safe to say that there are some decidely dangerous people among those who share their beliefs — if only for their complete rejection of all COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

This story has been updated to include a statement from Toronto Police, provided to blogTO on Thursday morning.

Lead photo by

Michael James Billings

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