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‘Not the right time’: Anger in Kelowna, B.C. after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted

Click to play video: 'Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted by anti-vaxxers' Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted by anti-vaxxers
Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted by anti-vaxxers – Nov 11, 2021

Participants of a Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna went from solemn to angry when a woman disrupted the gathering and started speaking about COVID-19 health mandates.

The ceremony took place at the cenotaph in City Park, with many in attendance.

After the ceremony concluded, a woman with a group that had set up its own microphone and speaker system near the cenotaph started speaking against health measures.

Read more: Pro-vaccine graffiti scrawled on Cranbrook, B.C. cenotaph on Remembrance Day

The crowd quickly reacted, with many yelling, asking her to leave and shut up, while others said this wasn’t the time or place to discuss health measures.

One man, with military medals on his jacket and pointing to them, said, “Hey, lady. Take a look at these. (Today) is not the (expletive) day.”

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Another woman, also with military medals, approached the speaker and said, “How fricking dare you. This is not about you. This is about the veterans. You’re disgracing this ceremony. You’re a disgrace.”

Click to play video: 'Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted' Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted
Anger in Kelowna after Remembrance Day ceremony disrupted – Nov 11, 2021

Surrounded by a half-dozen people at one point, the speaker said, “I’m fighting for the freedom that our soldiers died for. Have you forgotten?”

Arguments then began, with scores watching on in disbelief while others paid their respects by laying poppies in front of the cenotaph.

The crowd then began singing the national anthem, though the arguments continued.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran on Remembrance Day disruption' Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran on Remembrance Day disruption
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran on Remembrance Day disruption – Nov 11, 2021

Ken Hodgson, a veteran who was at the ceremony, said that the “inappropriateness” of the whole display made him “wild.”

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“When they talk about losing the rights here, they’ve obviously never been in the country where you don’t have rights, you know?” he said.

“The fact that you’re on the mic, (no matter) how inappropriate it is, you do have the right to do it,” he said.

Police were on scene, and, on Thursday afternoon, Kelowna RCMP said it will be conducting an investigation into the disruption.

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“Demonstrators interrupted the assembly and RCMP officers attended to keep the peace,” said the police press release.

“Kelowna RCMP officers support a person or group’s right to protest, but, when they choose to willfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony, this is a step too far,” said Insp. Adam MacIntosh.

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“The Kelowna RCMP will be fully investigating this event to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise may have been committed and if appropriate the submission of charges or fines.”

On Friday, Kelowna RCMP said anyone who captured the disruption on video, or events leading up to it, can send it to this email address:

KelownaRemembranceDayVideos@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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Following the ceremony, Global News spoke to Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran, who called it a “reprehensible” disruption.

“I’m completely disgusted by it. The fact that they would choose Remembrance Day, a day where we are to recognize the fallen and those who have fought for the very freedoms to allow them to protest, to me, is just so out of touch,” Basran told Global News.

“There are places that are just off-limits for this kind of ridiculousness and today would be one of those days where this is not OK to do.”

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For those who don’t want to heed that warning, Basran had another message.

“First of all, what are you thinking? You owe an apology to this community,” he said.

“And quite frankly, if this is how you’re going to behave, we don’t want you here. Find a different place to live.”

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Poppy’s history as a symbol of remembrance – Nov 11, 2021

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