PHOTOS: Greater Victoria residents gather to protest COVID-19 restrictions

Over 150 people were gathered in Centennial Square by 1 p.m. March 20 to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)Over 150 people were gathered in Centennial Square by 1 p.m. March 20 to listen to speakers decry COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
People gathered in Centennial Square March 20 to protest COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)People gathered in Centennial Square March 20 to protest COVID-19 restrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Several signs at the rally suggested COVID-19 is a hoax or not something to be worried about. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)Several signs at the rally suggested COVID-19 is a hoax or not something to be worried about. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Tents set up in Centennial Square sold merchandise to those attending the rally against COVID-19 retrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)Tents set up in Centennial Square sold merchandise to those attending the rally against COVID-19 retrictions. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
A protester holds up a sign reading, ‘Blind Faith in Government Leads to Gas Chambers.’ (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)A protester holds up a sign reading, ‘Blind Faith in Government Leads to Gas Chambers.’ (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Close to 150 maskless people were gathered in Centennial Square by 1 p.m. Saturday (March 20) to protest COVID-19 restrictions and issue a call for freedom.

Referencing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a speaker on stage called public health orders an attack on their rights.

“What do we want?” he asked the crowd. “Freedom!” they replied.

He noted a number of ways in which he believes pandemic restrictions have been cruel, including the forced isolation of elderly people in long-term care homes, and the adverse affect the pandemic has had on young people who have had to miss out on in-person graduations and travel.

Earlier in the day, the Victoria Police Department tweeted to say it was aware of a planned protest. It also noted traffic in downtown may be disrupted during the rally, between noon and 3:30 p.m.

On Friday, B.C. recorded 737 new cases of COVID-19 – the record daily number since Jan. 7. On Vancouver Island there are 217 active cases as of Friday, with 83 of those in the south Island.

READ ALSO: BC Ferries union expresses ‘deep disappointment’ after marine workers not included on vaccine priority list


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