Anti-maskers gather in the hundreds protesting pandemic curbs

Suited and Booted: Josh Baldwin, left foreground, and Andrew Goodman, behind Baldwin, warns Tony Allen (right) an anti-masker, to keep his distance. Baldwin and Goodman opposed the anti-mask protest by wearing hazmat suits and gas masks during the protest in Calgary on Nov. 28. (Photo by Danika Gayle/The Press)

Anti-maskers assembled downtown to protest against mandatory mask-wearing and new measures currently in place to protect people from COVID-19.

Hundreds gathered in front of City Hall on Nov. 28 to protest, ending with a march down Stephen Avenue Mall downtown.

The protest, the second in two weeks in the city, followed the imposition of new rules by the province against large public gatherings. The new rules also toughened penalties for not wearing a mask in public in  Calgary and Edmonton.

The march drew people of all ages, and a small group of counter-protesters,  along with a large group of city police officers who kept an eye on the gathering but didn’t issue any tickets based on the rules.

Protester Tony Allen, 66, a Calgarian, who works as an engineer said: “Masks are totally ineffective. It does more harm than good,” Allen said. “I would tell you a COVID-19 joke, but there’s a 99.62-per-cent chance that you won’t get it.

“It’s a control and fear pandemic and it’s being pushed by mainstream media by the city, and the government. It’s got nothing to do with the virus whatsoever.”

Another participant, Mikasi Allen, son of Tony Allen said, “I believe that it’s unfair that mainstream media is pushing this so hard to the point where we are unable to be free.

“I just believe in building your immune system and staying healthy, and I think anyone could do that, besides the older population,” said Allen Jr.

Unmasked Smiles: Mikasi Allen, left, and his father, Tony Allen, third from left, with friends at the anti-mask rally on Nov. 28. The protest took place at City Hall  Plaza downtown. (Photo by Danika Gayle/The Press)

The marches, organized by protest group Walk for Freedom, have been regularly held in the city for months.

Lawyer Doris Reimer gave a speech at the rally speaking against the need to wear a mask.

“The masking mandates are a direct attack on our bodily autonomy and wearing a mask symbolizes compliance to the madness that’s going on, and consent to what’s to come,” said Reimer.

“We’re in a psychological war and masking keeps the virus alive in people’s minds and it keeps them in fear.”

Isaac Beadle, 54, was a bystander and wore a mask. He said that he felt attacked and quickly ducked into a nearby restaurant to avoid the aggressive behaviour of protesters.

“This is ridiculous and they were aggressive toward us, simply because we have masks on. There were people trying to goad us into some aggression or some sort of negative conversation,” said Beadle.

No tickets were given out during the protest by city police.

“Due to the safety for both law enforcement and members of the community, it is not always prudent to issue a ticket at the time of an alleged offence,” Ryan Ayliffe, a Calgary police Supt. said.

“Please don’t take our lack of enforcement as a reflection of our intent of those who flout the law,” said Ayliffe.

In the week following the event, a number of tickets were issued to march participants. Organizers have urged those who have been fined to fight the tickets in court, on constitutional grounds.

Vaccine vendetta: An anti-mask protester holds a sign opposing mandatory vaccination for COVID-19. Vaccination was an issue brought up at the rally on Nov. 28. (Photo by Danika Gayle/The Press)