RCMP have issued a $2,300 fine against the organizer of a rally against COVID-19 restrictions that took place Saturday afternoon in downtown Kelowna, B.C.
The fine was issued for acting in contravention of provincial health orders meant to curb the spread of the virus, which includes a prohibition on public gatherings, police said in a statement.
“People in Canada have a democratic right to a lawful and peaceful protest and the RCMP must use discretion when balancing a citizen’s rights with the current potential health risks associated to large public gatherings,” RCMP said.
The rally crossed several busy roadways in downtown Kelowna. Officers were on hand to prevent confrontations between the protesters and nearby residents and motorists, RCMP added.
CBC News reporters who witnessed the rally estimated approximately 1,000 people were gathered. The protesters held up signs that said “open our churches” and “stand up for freedom.”
RCMP said they are not releasing the name of the organizer at this time.
In a statement, Kelowna RCMP Supt. Kara Triance said most people have been respecting the public health orders.
“While we certainly can, and will enforce the provisions available to us under the COVID Related Measures Act, we continue to encourage everyone to voluntarily comply with the provincial health orders, so enforcement is not required,” she said.