Two arrested at anti-vaccine protest after mob tries to storm Toronto Eaton Centre
Mobs opposing Ontario's vaccine passport mandate descended upon Toronto malls over the weekend, and one of the raucous protests boiled over into violence at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
The latest in a string of anti-vaccine protests in Toronto, groups fighting the mandate organized a series of sit-in demonstrations at mall food courts on Friday, where unmasked and unvaccinated patrons would dine en-masse using a strength in numbers approach.
On Saturday, things got even more out of control when another march from Queen's Park led protesters to Yonge Dundas Square, where anti-mask figurehead Chris Sky (real name Chris Saccoccia) addressed his masses.
Sky also warns that Canada will look like Australia soon (and not because of climate change)— Kosalan Kathir (@kokopuff16) September 26, 2021
He's referencing the wave of civil disobedience against Public Health Measures and the violent police response#cdnpoli #antivaxxers #Toronto #onpoli pic.twitter.com/nshlQTegY9
Anti-vaxxers set up booths selling merch at the rally and, of course, there was not a mask anywhere in sight.
Picture from #antivaxxers rally in Toronto yesterday led by conspiracy theorist Chris Sky.— Tentative Apologist (@RandalRauser) September 26, 2021
Just for the record, this is not what Jesus meant when he said "Take up your cross." pic.twitter.com/4buaNUQNDe
The rally started off relatively peaceful, though it became clear that some in the crowd were planning on following up on the mall protests from the day before with a mass entry into the Eaton Centre.
Chris Sky's alleged call for the crowd to "do something" may have been the spark that ignited what happened next.
In case there was any confusion about whether Chris Sky incited #antivaxxers to storm the Eaton Centre, here’s a few guys telling him their plan to do exactly that.— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer + Cartoon Creator (@CarymaRules) September 25, 2021
Throughout his speech, Sky called Canadian men as “bitches” & “pussies” for their supposed complacency.#cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/7aVsqJcSXx
Police seem to have sensed trouble, preemptively forming a barricade at the Eaton Centre mall entrance across the street from the rally.
Following Chris Sky’s speech, @TorontoPolice lined up to barricade the Eaton Centre from #antivaxxers.— Caryma Sa'd - Lawyer + Cartoon Creator (@CarymaRules) September 25, 2021
Sky encouraged “united non-compliance” such as going in groups to stores & restaurants to protest vaccine mandates. That seems to have motivated the crowd.#cdnpoli #JustSayNo pic.twitter.com/n0jhqPuOnQ
An unmasked crowd was soon recorded trying to force their way into the mall, as masked security guards and police officers could be seen resisting them at the entrance.
Chris Sky orders followers to STORM the Eaton Centre, a popular shopping mall in downtown Toronto— Toronto 99 News (@Toronto99News) September 25, 2021
Here's what happened next...pic.twitter.com/bL1OaWJWAK
The scene got pretty heated, with another video showing a protester screaming at security guards. It appears that the protester had stolen a badge from one of the guards and is taunting him with it as police stand idly by.
This scummo anti-masker/anti-vaxxer named Nick Smith and his father assaulted my friend at the "freedom rally", but @TPSOperations detained my friend instead. Smith's dad blew a horn into my friend's ear, and Smith grabbed his face and ripped off his mask. @CarymaRules @JohnTory pic.twitter.com/xcBHhzfoC8— Michael Tanton (@m_tanton) September 25, 2021
Saturday's would-be demonstration at the Eaton Centre was thwarted at the door, though police allege that an Eaton Centre security guard was assaulted during the commotion.
Two were arrested on Saturday. Michael Leaf, 29, of Thornhill, and Vanessa Carvalho, 23, of Brampton will appear in court on December 15.
Taking an alternate path, I got a view of Michael and Vanessa being arrested in the north east entrance to the Eaton Centre, and a look at what the scene looked like from inside.— Morgan Yew (@weynagrom) September 26, 2021
Mayor John Tory has spoken out against Saturday's rally, saying that protesters are "on the wrong side of history in this pandemic."
What we saw outside the Eaton Centre on Saturday is illegal behaviour and police are treating it as such - two people have been arrested and charged already. I know the vast majority of people are angered and frustrated by these anti-vaccine, anti-mask protests - I am too. pic.twitter.com/ZJMxOXayCH— John Tory (@JohnTory) September 26, 2021
Cadillac Fairview, the company that owns the Eaton Centre, released a statement the day after the rally, saying that they "collaborated with Toronto Police Service to prevent the group from entering the shopping centre."
"We take the health and safety of our guests, clients and employees very seriously and at no time did the centre give permission for this action. Given the circumstances, the primary focus of TPS and Cadillac Fairview was to maintain a safe environment for all and minimize disruption while the group was onsite."
Eaton Centre is trending pic.twitter.com/ihcwW2qqRS— dante teardrop (@steelydante) September 26, 2021
The protest brings another failed entrance to the Eaton Centre to mind, this one from way back when the G20 Summit shut down Toronto.
Join the conversation Load comments