‘Freedom Rally’ affidavits reveal new evidence surrounding Kelowna, B.C. protests

Click to play video: '‘Freedom Rally’ affidavits reveal extensive investigation'
‘Freedom Rally’ affidavits reveal extensive investigation
WATCH: More details about the City of Kelowna's attempt to squash anti-vaccine protests in Stuart Park have surfaced. Court documents obtained by Global News have revealed an extensive investigation handled by the Kelowna Bylaw department, as well as pressure from businesses in the city's downtown. Jayden Wasney reports. – Jan 26, 2023

Global News has obtained the affidavits in the City of Kelowna’s attempt to put an end to the so-called ‘Freedom Rallies’ at Stuart Park.

Since the fall of 2020, protests against provincial and federal COVID-19 restrictions and health orders were organized and held at Kelowna, B.C.’s Stuart Park.

But after over two years of weekly rallies, the city’s patience has run out.

A lawsuit was recently filed by the City against the organizer, David Lindsay, John Doe, Jane Doe, and several others who were not named.

“We proceed with an injunction when other, lesser means of enforcement aren’t effective,” explained Kelowna Bylaw Services manager Kevin Mead.

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“In this case, with the administration of over 200 tickets and no change in behaviour, it’s time to take it to the next step.”

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In the court document, one city bylaw officer recalls one instance on Oct. 30, 2022, when he witnessed “a number of persons obstructing traffic by walking down the middle of the roadway on Water Street and Doyle Avenue, then onto St. Paul Street, to Bernard Avenue and back down to Water Street to stand and protest along Highway 97.”

Downtown Kelowna Association’s executive director Mark Burley says these rallies have caused headaches for many business owners in the downtown core.

“Businesses in downtown Kelowna want their customers to be able to visit them and they don’t want to have any impedances to do so,” said Downtown Kelowna Association’s executive director, Mark Burley.

“If you park your car out in front of a business wherever, and all of a sudden there’s a parade going by and you can’t get out, all of a sudden this becomes a big issue.”

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The affidavits also reveal a plethora of evidence from a bylaw officer, including pictures, times and dates where the organizers were issued tickets and fines from the officer on multiple occasions, all of which have been ignored.

“If you’re going to set up to protest or make people aware of what it is you don’t like, that’s fine, but once you start setting tents up, selling t-shirts and wares and stuff like that, then get a permit,” said Burley.

“When we do winter street markets, Downtown Kelowna Association, we have to get a permit.”

For roughly three years, the rallies were held weekly, but organizers say rallies will now be held once a month.

Meanwhile, it is still unknown when the file will go before a judge.

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