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Charge withdrawn against Edmonton man arrested during COVID-19 protest in May

The Alberta legislature on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Emily Mertz, Global News

A rights advocacy group says the Alberta Crown has withdrawn a charge against a man who was protesting public health lockdowns at the provincial legislature in May.

Read more: Hundreds protest COVID-19 social restrictions at Alberta legislature grounds

Cory Teichroew of Edmonton was arrested and fined $1,200 under the Public Health Act for contravening an order of the medical officer of health.

A 15-person maximum rule was in place at the time to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Teichroew was part of a group of about 50 protesters.

Click to play video: 'Frustrated group of Albertans plan protest at legislature in hopes of easing COVID-19 restrictions' Frustrated group of Albertans plan protest at legislature in hopes of easing COVID-19 restrictions
Frustrated group of Albertans plan protest at legislature in hopes of easing COVID-19 restrictions – Apr 26, 2020

His arrest prompted Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to say that protesting is a “fundamental right” that includes both freedoms of speech and assembly.

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Read more: Kenney questions arrest of pandemic lockdown protester at Alberta legislature

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms represented Teichroew and says in a release that the charge has been withdrawn.

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It centre says it has submitted a complaint on Teichroew’s behalf about the three Alberta sheriffs involved in his arrest.

Read more: Anti-mask rallies draw crowds in Calgary and Edmonton amid coronavirus pandemic

“The arbitrary targeting, handcuffing, removal from the legislature grounds and ticketing of Mr. Teichroew had no basis in law and was an abuse of power,” said Justice Centre lawyer James Kitchen in the release.

“People have the right to assemble and express themselves at important symbolic places like the legislature grounds without fear of police detention and ticketing — even when the protest they attend is not a politically correct one.”

Read more: Alberta man fined $1,200 for defying COVID-19 quarantine order

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