More than 2,000 people attend illegal car rally in Pickering
More than 2,000 people attended a planned car rally in Pickering this past weekend, according to Durham Regional Police, adding yet another massive gathering to the list of events that were in direct violation of the province's stay-at-home order during May 2-4.
According to a news release issued by police Tuesday, officers received word of a planned car meet on the afternoon of Sunday, May 23.
Police arrived to the area of Brock Road and Kingston Road around 2 p.m., advising attendees that the rally was in violation of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) and Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) as they trickled in.
@CP24 @DRPS @RegionofDurham @CityofPickering @mayordaveryan please explain how this is acceptable during a stay at home order during a pandemic? Not only is an outrage it’s dangerous!! pic.twitter.com/hw7qBkJbCe— Lb (@WhatWilLisaCook) May 24, 2021
"Throughout the afternoon, more vehicles continued to attend the area and Air1 was utilized in monitoring the situation," reads the statement. "Officers managed the situation with the primary goals of public safety, officer safety, and the safety of the surrounding roadways."
But later that evening, at 6:20 p.m., police were forced to divert resources to a different investigation, including their Air1 helicopter and numerous officers.
By 8 p.m., police say more than 2,000 people and 1,000 vehicles had arrived at the meet-up.
Police quickly received requests for additional resources to help clear the crowd, and a fight broke out shortly after that left a 26-year-old man with minor injuries. He was taken to a local hospital for medical treatment.
Members from DRPS attended a large car meet in Pickering on Sunday. Over 2000 people attended.— Durham Regional Police (@DRPS) May 25, 2021
The primary goals of DRPS were public safety, officer safety and the safety of the surrounding roadways.
DRPS is continuing to followup with this matter
See: https://t.co/JKz8m79M2d pic.twitter.com/cn96PKIgrt
Officers managed to clear the crowd from the parking lot by 10 p.m. that night, and police say they're continuing to investigate the incidents and following up with violations of emergency shutdown rules.
On the day of the event, members of the Traffic Services Branch also laid 54 provincial offence notices while monitoring traffic surrounding the area.
"C'mon folks. We know that lockdown has been difficult for all of us," wrote Pickering Mayor Dave Ryan on Twitter following the event.
"However, let's not be careless especially now that we can see light at the end of this long tunnel. We're close to returning to some level of normalcy. Don't do a disservice to the rest of our community."
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