13 ‘Hugs Over Masks’ protestors charged after another demonstration at Hamilton city hall

More anti-mask protestors were charged with violating the Reopening Ontario Act on Sunday after yet another gathering at Hamilton city hall.

Hamilton police say 16 tickets were issued to 13 people, despite warnings from officers to organizers that the event would be a violation of rules under the act and that individuals in contravention could face fines of up to $10,000 each.

Thirteen were charged for congregating with a group larger than five people, and three other charges were issued to some who obstructed police from exercising their authority.

The “Hugs Over Masks” events have been a regular occurrence in Hamilton on Sundays, first catching the attention of the city’s law enforcement last July when about a hundred people rallied at Gore Park.

Read more: Hamilton police charge organizers of 2 Hugs over Masks events

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The group claims the protests are in support of “restoring our liberties” in Ontario. The protestors claim that current COVID-19 measures are “unnecessarily harming Ontarians’ health and rights.”

Between 15 and 20 people attended the event near Bay Street South and Main Street West this past Sunday compared to a rally a week ago the drew approximately 60, says police.

Another gathering on Jan. 3 drew about 40 people.

On Monday, acting police chief Frank Bergan told the city’s police board that the service has exhausted “all it’s good nature” when it comes to the weekly demonstrations.

“This wasn’t just simply an activity that attracted just Hamilton people, but people as far away as Stratford.”

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