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Two protesters at The Forks anti-mask rally among 56 fined

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Tickets for breaking COVID-19 orders were issued to two attendees of a large demonstration at The Forks on Sunday, which denounced public health measures meant to slow the spread of the virus.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/04/2021 (644 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Tickets for breaking COVID-19 orders were issued to two attendees of a large demonstration at The Forks on Sunday, which denounced public health measures meant to slow the spread of the virus.

Late Tuesday, a provincial spokesperson confirmed that two tickets worth $1,296 were issued for failing to self-isolate and gathering in a group larger than permitted, in the wake of the rally.

“Justice officials were present at the rally on Sunday, as they are at other large public gatherings that contravene public health restrictions,” the spokesperson said in a statement to the Free Press.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Chris “Sky” Saccoccia speaks at an anti-mask rally at the Forks. A group of anti-maskers gathered at the Forks for a rally in Winnipeg Sunday, April 25, 2021. Reporter: ?

“Enforcement officials were focused on surveillance and interventions. Tickets were issued, information was gathered and further tickets are pending based on video and other information collected on site.

“Winnipeg Police Service members were also present to provide support and ensure a safe and secure environment,” the statement read.

Several hundred people gathered Sunday afternoon near the CN Stage at The Forks, where they spread conspiracy theories about the virus and spoke out against wearing masks, getting COVID-19 tests and vaccines.

The main draw was Canadian anti-mask activist Chris Saccoccia, also known as Chris Sky, who was on a cross-country tour and failed to self-isolate upon his arrival in Manitoba. The anti-mask agitator is also known for spreading anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric.

The Forks Market was forced to close Sunday because of the rally.

Justice Minister Cameron Friesen said two people were fined at the event, and more fines are likely as the investigation continues.

Enforcement officers did not disrupt the event, but Friesen says they were among the crowd and collected evidence, including video footage.

The province reported that between April 19 and Sunday, 39 $1,296 tickets were issued, along with 17 $298 fines for not wearing a mask in an indoor public place (an increase of 167 per cent from a week earlier).

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Church of God minister Tobias Tissen speaks at an anti-mask rally at the Forks. A group of anti-maskers gathered at the Forks for a rally in Winnipeg Sunday, April 25, 2021. Reporter: ?

Provincial data show six tickets were issued for failing to self-isolate and 33 were related to gathering sizes. Ninety-two warnings were issued.

“Enforcement officials investigate all public-health order violations they are made aware of, including large gatherings and rallies, and were present at The Forks last weekend,” the province said in a statement.

“The public is reminded that abusive and aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated, and criminal offences will be reported to police and investigated.”

The province said security personnel from Commissionaires Manitoba are at the airport to advise arrivals about provincial self-isolation requirements, to distribute public-health information and answer questions about health orders.

— Staff, with files from The Canadian Press

History

Updated on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 4:49 PM CDT: Adds details of rally enforcement.

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