An anti-mask rally in Salmon Arm attracted a crowd of around 70 on Saturday.
The noon gathering outside city hall was peaceful, with mask-less protesters singing, dancing and espousing opinions about the coronavirus pandemic and other topics.
Mainly, though, the protesters, which included children, said provincial health orders, including the new policy that masks must be worn in all indoor public places, are eroding personal freedoms. They also called vaccines unsafe.
Some protesters spoke out against government, police and China. Pamphlets explaining why masks are unsafe were also handed out.
There were no counter-protesters, but some area residents told Global News that they did not support the protest in any way and called it a risk to their community.
One RCMP vehicle was on scene, with the officer telling Global News that no arrests were going to take place, nor any fines handed out, adding the protest was to be used as an educational approach.
The protest was originally slated to take place at a mall, but those plans were changed. In a Facebook post on Nov. 26, mall management wrote that the mall was not associated with the protest, adding “we are private property and any event, organizations, rally, etc., must be authorized by us.”
Also on Saturday, an anti-mask protest took place in Kelowna at Stuart Park.
The two protests appeared to be part of a nation-wide protest called The 1st Great March for Canadian Freedom.
“The nationwide protest is for the hard-working people of Canada who are tired of government-mandated lockdowns and restrictions on business and society,” said the opening statement of a one-page document.
The document asked protesters to gather at their town or city’s main government building on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, at noon, regardless of what time zone they were in.
Notably, the document also said “this is a peaceful protest. Do not attend unless you are committing to both verbal and physical non-violence with participants, bylaw and police.”