Hundreds of mostly unmasked people gathered on the grounds and surrounding streets of the B.C. legislature Wednesday afternoon to protest the province’s vaccine policies.
Signs were aplenty amongst the boisterous crowd, mostly relating to freedom of choice around being vaccinated, the B.C. government’s announced vaccine card program and constitutional rights. A distinct anti-government, anti-mask, anti-vaccine feeling was in the air and a variety of speakers took to the microphone to voice their views.
People also gathered on both sides of Belleville Street in front of the legislature, and a number of drivers honked in apparent support of protesters.
The roughly hour-long event was spurred in part by a widely circulated social media notice entitled Worldwide Walk Out, subtitled No Jab = No Job. The notice called for people to walk off their jobs at 1 p.m. and hit the streets in protest to “stop the shot, stop the tyranny.”
Other protests were held throughout B.C., including large protests in downtown Nelson, outside Vancouver City Hall, Kelowna General Hospital and the Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan.
After a day of protest, premier John Horgan said that he respects the right to peaceful protest, but he denounced protesters for targeting healthcare workers and blocking access to healthcare facilities in numerous municipalities.
“The intent of every COVID-19 guideline and restriction that we’ve put in place since the beginning of the pandemic is to keep people healthy. That remains our number one priority and we will take the steps we need to, to save lives and keep people safe as the vast majority of British Columbians expect,” Horgan said.
It is believed these protests are being held to voice opposition to the B.C. Vaccine Card, which will require people to have at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine by Sept. 13 to access a number of social and recreational events.
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