More than 100 people streamed down Israel Asper Way Saturday afternoon, trekking to the Manitoba Legislative Building with dogs, signs and protests against masks and COVID-19 vaccinations.
The group started outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. They flashed posters saying "I Do Not Consent" and "My Body My Choice" as they undertook their 2:30 p.m. march.
"(The government and businesses) are creating a two-tiered society," a speaker told the crowd after they’d settled on the grounds near Broadway. "This is not right."
His words were met with cheers from people wearing shirts reading "Freedom" and "I’m Not a Lab Rat".
"You guys have got frustration, maybe a little bit of fear, maybe a little bit of anxiety inside of you," the speaker said.
Saturday’s rally comes after a year and a half of COVID-19’s presence in Manitoba. People in various occupations across the province will require full vaccination or consistent testing to keep their jobs; unvaccinated Manitobans can’t participate in certain activities, such as dining in a restaurant.
A table set on the legislative building’s grounds had take-home print outs on mask mandate exemptions, various laws and notices to school board superintendents for parents who don’t want their children masked or receiving "any medical treatment" related to COVID-19.
"It is the right of each child... to receive an education provided by the Manitoba Government that is free from discrimination," the notice reads.
Members of the First Nation Indigenous Warriors led the walkers, holding their red flags. Winnipeg police cars bookended the march from The Forks to Broadway.
Monstrosity Burger, a Corydon Avenue restaurant, was set to host a parking lot party after the gathering at the legislature, according to an online post. The eatery shared its support for the march on Instagram.
Provincial health enforcement recently shut down Monstrosity Burger’s in-person dining. It has also received $40,000 in fines since Sept. 6 related to public health rules.
— with files from Malak Abas
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.