Gatherings of more than five people is prohibited during the current stay-at-home- order. However, many people posed the question under several videos posted online: what was the difference between gatherings at LCBO and COSTCO versus peaceful protests, which are protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom? If everyone stays 6 feet apart, is it considered a gathering?
(Photo: Nico Hines)
When INN24 news asked a COSTCO employee at 42 Overlea Boulevard that how many people are allowed inside the store right now, we got this answer:
“What we’re allowed and what we’re doing are two separate things. Technically, 25% capacity of this building is 594 people. It all depends on where the members are in the building. So if there is a large number of people in a certain area, then we’ll have no choice. We have to shut the door. So it’s not about the number.”
There has been an ongoing backlash to the lockdown regulations regarding what is considered defying the bylaws and how it contradicts different scenarios.
On January 16, Toronto Police issued a statement on Twitter.
“We recognize the right to a lawful protest; the existing emergency orders prohibit large gatherings of more than five people.”
It has been the 39th week of peaceful protests for Toronto. However, some goers did not see it that way.
“They told us to disperse, or they would be arresting and writing tickets. They did just that.
Pulling people from the crowd and taking them to the police van. Kelly Anne Wolfe was then dragged down off of a table as she gave a speech and was then arrested.” Nico Hines described what he saw at the protest.
According to Global News, Lamont Diagle, 49, and Kelly Anne Farkus (Wolfe), 38, were arrested and charged at Nathan Phillips Square for common nuisance. Colin Chappell, 22, was arrested
and charged for an assault of a police officer and obstructing police.
Responding to the latest anti lockdown protest, Toronto mayor John Tory, told CTV News that he understands the right to protest but the demonstration was contrary to the regulations that are out there.
There are tips on how to protest lawfully that can help people better understand their rights.
However, due to the country’s current situation, emergency protocols override many rights.
Police have the right to approach and ask questions. However, a person is not required to answer unless they are being detained.
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