vaccine protest toronto

Anti-vaxxer charged after attacking random woman during Toronto protest

A 34-year-old woman from Mississauga has been arrested and charged with assault after allegedly attacking a motorist stuck in traffic during a large "freedom rally" in downtown Toronto.

According to the Toronto Police Service, an "anti-vaccine protest" had halted traffic in the Queen's Park Crescent and Bloor Street West area on Saturday, September 18, when the alleged assault took place.

"The protest had forced a momentary stoppage in traffic," said police in a release issued Sunday. "A 31-year-old woman was in her car. She was approached by one of the protestors. She was assaulted."

The service says that officers had been in the area monitoring what they described as a "world wide rally" when the attack took place around 2:50 p.m.

No further details regarding the assault have been released, though police did confirm that Milijana Rupcic, 34, was arrested and charged on Saturday as part of the assault investigation.

Rupcic is charged with one count of assault and is scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall in Toronto via video link on Thursday, October 28.

Saturday's protest event in Toronto indeed appears to have been part of a larger organized movement staged by anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and anti-lockdown advocates — you know, the same people who've been screaming through megaphones (or worse) while they walk through the city every weekend for the past year.

Videos from the Toronto rally on Saturday show thousands of people marching through the streets, chanting and carrying signs with messages such as "masking kids is child abuse," "tyranny disguised as safety" and "Do you really think that Justin Pfizer, Jagmeet Modern and Erin O'Zeneca cares [sic] more about your health than he cares about keeping his corporate friends and sponsors happy?"

A significant number of people were seen carrying signs bearing the logo of the Peoples' Party of Canada, a far-right federal political party led by noted anti-vaxxer Maxime Bernier.

Chatham-Kent MPP Rick Nicholls, expelled from the Ontario PC caucus last month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19, spoke to a gathered crowd of thousands in Toronto near Queen's Park before the march began.

Protests like these have been taking place all over Ontario since the province was put under its first emergency lockdown in March of 2020, but appear to have grown in size since Premier Doug Ford announced that a vaccine passport program would be coming into effect this month.

Beginning this Wednesday, September 22, patrons of Ontario restaurants, gyms, cinemas, nightclubs, and other "high-risk" indoor settings will need to carry proof-of-vaccination documents with them in order to gain legal entry.

Those who can't provide this specific documentation from the provincial booking portal will, under the new rules, be refused entry unless they are under 12, have a valid medical exemption, or qualify under another practical loophole.

While the forthcoming "vaccine passport" regulations have encouraged more people to get innoculated against COVID-19 than before, a small but incredibly vocal segment of the population remains steadfast in their resolve that vaccines are untrustworthy.

As of Monday, September 20, Ontario's Ministry of Health is reporting that 85 per cent of eligible residents have recieved one dose of a Health Canada-approved vaccine for COVID-19, and that 79 per cent have now had two.

"High rates of vaccination against COVID-19 are critical to helping protect our communities and hospital capacity while keeping Ontario schools and businesses safely open," said Health Minister Christine Elliott last week.

"As we continue our last mile push to increase vaccination rates, requiring proof of immunization in select settings will encourage even more Ontarians to receive the vaccine and stop the spread of COVID-19. If you haven't received your first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please sign up today."

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

12 Days of Giveaways Day 2: Enchanting lake getaway and performance apparel

Here's why you should still use your Presto card

TD Bank to axe around 3k employees from its global workforce

Kangaroo spotted on the loose on a road near Toronto

Online map charts Toronto neighbourhoods by stereotypes

Canada just got an otherworldly $50 coin that glows in the dark

Shocking video shows man punch woman repeatedly at Brampton mall

12 Days of Giveaways Day 1: Luxurious mountain escape in Banff National Park