Another rally was held in Calgary Saturday to protest government restrictions intended to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The “Walk for Freedom” march, started at city hall Saturday afternoon, where the crowd of about 500 people listened to speeches before marching through downtown.
Gladys Richards participated in Saturday’s march. Richards said she had no concern about catching COVID-19 as a result of attending the event because she doesn’t believe the virus is real.
“I felt compelled to come here today because I really, truly believe in freedom, and it’s to unite people and speaking the truth,” Richards said.
Nicole Kelly said she believes COVID is real, but she attended the event to protect her children’s rights.
“My children miss school, they miss their friends. But they can’t breathe in masks and I’m their advocate and I’m here to advocate for their right to breathe,” Kelly said.
“We just feel like we have the right to autonomy and to our own choices and to govern our own bodies.”
Lawyer and Constitutional Centre for Freedoms president John Carpay spoke at the rally.
Carpay said the Alberta government restrictions are illegal under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He said the government is required to demonstrate the measures “are actually doing more good than harm,” and Carpay argues that has not happened.
“The governments have not provided any persuasive evidence that the lockdowns have saved any lives,” he said.
The majority of the crowd was not wearing masks. There were chants of “freedom” as well as calls for the resignation of Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Premier Jason Kenney.
Kenney tweeted that he was “very disappointed” by the large event.
On Thursday, the premier spoke out about people who won’t wear masks out of principle in places where they are required.
“To people who are doing that, get a grip. Everybody is stressed out here, OK? We’re all sick and tired of this but please do not treat your fellow Albertans with disrespect like that,” he said.
“If you don’t like the at-work mask mandates, then don’t go to those places.”
A similar rally was held outside Edmonton’s Federal Building Saturday afternoon.
Saturday’s demonstrations went against restrictions, including limiting outdoor gatherings to 10 people. Calgary police said no tickets were issued as a result of participants not following the mandatory measures.
The marches were held the same day the province announced a new daily record-high of 1,879 COVID-19 cases as well as six new deaths connected to the virus.