Some demonstrators still gather in Uptown Waterloo after anti-lockdown rally moves to Toronto
WATERLOO -- Despite an anti-lockdown rally originally planned for Waterloo moving to Toronto, a few demonstrators still found their way to the uptown.
Roughly two dozen people were gathered at Waterloo Public Square by midafternoon for a ‘freedom rally’.
Leading up to the small gathering, businesses in the area were unsure of what to expect and were preparing for the worst.
Zero Waste Bulk management was keeping their doors locked to moderate who could come in, while Dave Anderson of House of Bamboo was concerned about protestors coming into stores.
“We just wanted to make sure, as a small business owner, we’re not getting fined for something that someone else is doing,” he said. “We are not here to judge you, but we as business owners are put on the hook for your actions.”
Some business owners tell CTV News they were preparing to close early if the event got too rowdy, while others say they called off security guards they hired when they heard the event might be cancelled.
The so-called ‘freedom rally’ was officially moved to Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto for Saturday afternoon. The majority of the demonstrators were not wearing masks or physically distancing, but no major incidents have been reported by police who were on hand.
“This is an anti-lockdown rally,” said protestor Shannon Lang-Charlebois in Waterloo. “They’re unjustified and unwarranted and they’re designed to eradicate the middle class of our nation.
“The human spirit is being decimated. Our government is a propaganda machine of fear.”
She adds that she has no problem with others wearing masks, but doesn’t feel it should be mandatory, as they’re ‘insufficient.’
“We put up signs all summer long: no shirts no shoes no service,” said Seven Redwood of Ray Woodey’s Craft Chippery. “Why is it any different asking people to wear a mask to get service?”
Public health officials addressed the possible protest earlier this week and said it would be unfair to put businesses in jeopardy.
One protestor tells CTV News she plans to protest outside of local police stations in the future to have her voice heard.