Several charges laid in weekend 'Hugs over Masks' anti-mask rally in Hamilton

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Several charges have been laid by Hamilton Police against anti-mask agitators who gathered outside City Hall on Sunday (Feb. 7).

At around 12 p.m., police say a crowd of individuals who were organized by a group called “Hugs Over Masks” attended the forecourt to protest the COVID-19 restrictions.

Police say none of the individuals who attended the gathering wore face coverings, nor did they adhered to social distancing recommendations on the same day Hamilton reported 151 new cases and five more deaths due to the virus.

“The City of Hamilton By-Law Enforcement and Hamilton Police attended the event and confirmed that the individuals were in violation,” according to an official statement from the Hamilton Police Service.

As of Sunday, Hamilton had recorded a total of 9,558 confirmed and probable cases of COVID with 527 being active and 268 recorded deaths.


Charged:

52-year-old male, Hamilton

  • Adult Obstruct Peace Officer (Criminal Code of Canada)
  • Enter premise when entry prohibited 2(1)(a)(i) Trespass To Property Act (Charges laid by Hamilton Police)
  • Fail to leave premise when directed 2(1)(a) Trespass To Property Act (Charges laid by Hamilton Police)
  • Fail to comply with an order made during a declared emergency subsection, 7.0.11(1) order as per Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Charges laid by City of Hamilton Bylaw)
  • Obstruct any person exercising a power in accordance with an order made during a declared emergency subsection, 7.0.11(1) order as per Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Charges laid by City of Hamilton Bylaw)
  • Failing to maintain a distance of at least (2) meters from another person, section 2.1 under the City of Hamilton Physical Distancing Bylaw 20-164 (Charges laid by City of Hamilton Bylaw)

32-year-old female, Hamilton

  • Fail to comply with an order made during a declared emergency subsection, 7.0.11(1) order as per Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (Charges laid by Hamilton Police)

49-year-old male, Hamilton

  • Enter premise when entry prohibited 2(1)(a)(i) Trespass To Property Act (Charges laid by Hamilton Police)

“Hamilton Police are reminding the public that participation in such events could result in charges being laid pursuant to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act,” added police.

“Residents are encouraged to stay at home when ill, maintain a two metre distance (six feet) from others, wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue to help stop the spread of COVID-19.”

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