2,500 students gathered in Waterloo’s University District Friday night, police say

File photo. Waterloo Regional Police. Kevin Nielsen / Global News

Waterloo Regional Police say that around 2,500 students gathered in the Ezra Avenue area of Waterloo on Friday night.

This is just one of a handful of massive gatherings that Waterloo Regional Police have been forced to respond to on Ezra Avenue since students from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo returned for the fall semester.

Read more: 1,000 students gather on Ezra Avenue in Waterloo: police

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“This is unacceptable. It is irresponsible. It is extremely disappointing. Moreover, it is unlawful,” Chief Bryan Larkin stated.

“As we continue through a global pandemic, large gatherings are prohibited. They are prohibited for a reason.

“This behaviour puts an unreasonable strain on the WRPS and our emergency service partners and puts our already overburdened health care system at risk.”

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Ezra Avenue, which is in the heart of the area known as the “student ghetto” in Waterloo, is the traditional gathering point for students from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo for homecoming, St. Patrick’s Day and at other times.

The recent gatherings have caused the chief to write a response as well as Laurier president Deborah McLatchey.

Read more: Wilfrid Laurier University president warns of heavy penalties over Ezra Avenue gathering

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She has warned students they could be expelled from school if they are caught engaging in illegal activities.

Police say they have maintained a noticeable presence in the university and college areas of the region.

They began their annual support Project Safe Semester campaign on Aug. 24 and have laid 210 charges for a host of liquor and driving offences.

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