Multiple tickets issued, one person in custody after anti-lockdown protest in Barrie
BARRIE, ONT. -- Multiple people were given tickets, and one person is in custody following an anti-lockdown protest in Barrie.
The now weekly "Barrie Freedom Rally" saw approximately 400 people in attendance, all calling for an end to the government's strict lockdown measures.
Barrie police said up to 15 tickets were handed out, and one woman was taken into custody for obstructing police on the scene.
The protest in recent weeks has seen hundreds gathering in the city's downtown core, with many saying they are there to fight for their freedom.
It has become frustrating to many local businesses, including Bohemia Barrie, a cafe on Dunlop Street. Owner Jill Dyck said she has had to start closing early.
"Business is down around 40 per cent," Dyck told CTV News. "It's been a difficult year for us."
MP Derek Sloan, who was ejected from the Conservative caucus in January after it was revealed he'd accepted a political donation from a white nationalist, was present at this week's gathering.
"Should we keep healthy people at home for indefinite periods of time, destroying businesses and lives," Sloan said. "No. I want government to look at this and admit they made a mistake."
The event has also drawn the ire of the area's city councillor, who is calling on people to stay home.
"The virus is real," said Ward 2 councillor Keenan Aylwin. "It's impacting people's lives and killing people at an alarming rate and I don't think we should stand by and let these people be taking over our downtown every single week, flaunting public health rules, not masking, not social distancing. There has been no consequences."
Last week, a total of eight provincial offence notices were handed out at the protest, with one of those going to the event organizer.