Hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta legislature in Edmonton Saturday, following a “freedom convoy” relating to COVID-19 restrictions that began in Lethbridge.
The protest was organized by the “Walk for Freedom Alberta” group. That group claims to stand up for rights and freedoms and “peacefully promote breaches to our civil liberties across Alberta.”
The convoy began in Lethbridge, went through Calgary and Red Deer, and then finished at the Alberta legislature.
There were multiple groups seen in attendance, including the group that organized it, as well as others.
While the legislature grounds fall under the jurisdiction of the Alberta Sheriffs, City of Edmonton and Edmonton Police Service officials were on hand to assist with keeping order. At least one person was seen being apprehended by police during the rally.
Mayor Don Iveson released a statement Saturday morning ahead of the convoy, saying “COVID-19 is not a joke nor a hoax.”
“We are in the middle of a global public health crisis,” Iveson said. “Wearing a mask and following other public health measures keeps people safe and saves lives.”
Iveson added that he is “encouraged” that the majority of Edmontonians follow the rules, and that he “won’t give a second thought to the falsehoods spread by this group and its allies.”
Similar protests have been held in both Edmonton and Calgary in the past.
According to the “Walk for Freedom Alberta” group’s media, Saturday’s convoy event departed from Lethbridge at 7 a.m., then was set to hit Calgary at 10 a.m, Red Deer at noon, and finally arrive at the legislature in Edmonton at 3 p.m.
Iveson said Saturday he has been “made aware” that some of the organizers “may be associated with known hate groups.”
“Edmonton unequivocally condemns racism, misogyny and other forms of hate — such speech is not welcome in our community.”
Under current COVID-19 restrictions in Alberta, people can gather in groups of up to 10 people as long as they’re outside and are maintaining two metres distance from each other.