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Hamilton police charge organizers of 2 Hugs over Masks events

Anti-masking advocates have organized a series of protests in Hamilton, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lisa Polewski / Global News

Police have charged the organizers of two Hugs Over Masks events that took place near Hamilton City Hall.

The events occurred the past two Sundays in protest of current COVID-19 restrictions.

Hamilton police say the Jan. 3 gathering drew about 40 people, while more than 60 protesters took part in a similar event this past Sunday, Jan. 10.

Read more: 3 charged after Hugs Over Masks protest at Hamilton city hall

Investigators add that organizers went ahead with both events, despite being warned ahead of time that they would be violating outdoor gathering limits as laid out in the Reopening Ontario Act.

Police say they’ve charged a 27-year-old Hamilton man who organized the Jan. 3 protest, and a 38-year-old Brampton woman who organized the Jan. 10 demonstration.

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If convicted, each faces fines starting at $10,000.

Read more: Hamilton reports 155 new COVID-19 cases, Niagara says 471 new cases tied to backlog

Hamilton Public Health continues to urge residents to stay at home when ill, wear a mask and follow physical distancing protocols, and wash hands frequently with soap and water to help stop the spread of COVID-19.