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3 charged after Hugs Over Masks protest at Hamilton city hall

Three men have been charged in connection with an anti-mask protest outside of Hamilton city hall on Sunday.

Police say the men were a part of a gathering of about 35 that attended an area around Bay Street South and Main Street West for a Hugs Over Masks event, protesting restrictions under the Reopening Ontario Act.

The men, 26, 48 and 72 were charged despite warnings from police to the organizer that the event would be a violation of rules under the act and that individuals in contravention could face potential fines of up to $10,000 each.

Read more: Organizer of anti-mask protest at Hamilton city hall charged: police

“The Hamilton Police Service attended the event and confirmed that the number of attendees exceeded the number permitted for an outdoor gathering,” police said in a statement on Sunday.

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“The organizer was present at the event.”

The 26-year-old is to be in court on Jan. 11, 2021. Court dates for the other two have not yet been released.

The incident was the second Hugs Over Masks event in November police that led to charges. A man who allegedly organized the anti-mask rally in front of city hall on Nov. 8 was also charged with breaking rules under Ontario’s current COVID-19 restrictions, police say.

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