UPDATE: Organizers of anti-mask protest at Celebration Square in Mississauga have been fined
Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect updated information. See bottom of article for more details.
Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says that organizers of recent rallies have been fined, but she also offered a reminder that there is a right to protest in Canada.
Speaking with Khaled Iwamura of insauga.com on Tuesday evening, Crombie addressed concerns about recent rallies that drew thousands of demonstrators to Celebration Square in Mississauga.
Crombie initially said that organizers of a pro-Palestinian rally were fined, but her office later issued a correction saying that some attendees at an anti-mask rally were ticketed.
The mayor’s office said that some demonstrators have been fined for breaches of the Emergency Management Act.
Over the past two weeks, thousands of Canadians demonstrated in support of blockaded Palestinians in the Gaza strip after escalations in the conflict between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Residents have also gathered to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
“People should know that we (the city) do not permit the square,” Crombie said. “So it’s not as though someone came to City Hall and said, ‘Can I have a permit to have a demonstration on Saturday?’
Crombie added that Peel Regional Police have been mindful about not wanting to take a “heavy approach” at the demonstrations.
“They have a right to be there, it’s just not right that they’re now given the stay-at-home lockdown order. And know that the police do not want to take a heavy approach. So they’re there, they’re present, they’re warning people, ‘keep your distance, etc., please be respectful.,’ and that’s not the issue.
“The issue most of us feel is that it is not the right course of action at this time.”
Editor’s note: Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has issued a correction regarding comments she made about tickets that were issued following a protest at Celebration Square in Mississauga. A spokesperson for Crombie said that organizers of the Palestinian rally on May 18 have not been ticketed and that tickets were actually issued to some demonstrators who attended another protest organized by Empowering the Children—a group opposed to masks and vaccines—that took place at Celebration Square on May 16.
“Some protestors of this group were ticketed, not those at the Palestinian rally,” the spokesperson said.
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