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Kootenay Freedom Peaceful Assembly stages rally in Nelson against COVID-19 health orders

Approximately 60 protesters gathered on Ward Street and City Hall courtyard to hear speeches during Saturday's rally. — Submitted photo

Members of the public against provincial health orders, including the wearing masks, during COVID-19 pandemic once again rallied in Nelson in front of City Hall Saturday afternoon.

The group calling itself Kootenay Freedom Peaceful Assembly hosted the event, which attracted approximately 60 protesters.

Those attending gathered on Ward Street and City Hall courtyard to hear speeches before peacefully marching through the downtown core of Nelson on Baker Street carrying signs protesting Provincial Public Health orders.

“We support informed consent, medical freedom, transparent science, unbiased journalism, human & privacy rights, free speech, democracy (and) opening the economy,” the poster on a Nelson poster board on Baker Street read.

Former Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall, who witnessed the protest and is currently eight-months pregnant, wrote an open Letter to the Editor to The Nelson Daily.

“I saw you walking up and down Baker St. on Saturday and wanted to let you know that you scare me,” Mungall said in the open letter.

“ You don’t have to think the pandemic is real, or that there are deadly diseases, or get a vaccine or believe in science,” Mungall added.

“But the rest of us would appreciate your respect and kindness by not forcing your beliefs onto us with actions that scare us and put our health at risk.”

The rally, and march, was monitored by Nelson Police officers.

Friday, Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that health officials are again extending the province-wide ban on social gatherings and events indefinitely, citing concerns around the growing number of COVID-19 variant cases.

The Kootenay Freedom Peaceful Assembly have hosted other rallies in Nelson as well, while on most Saturdays, a group occupies the amenity center in front of the CIBC on Baker Street, carrying signs protesting the provincial public health orders.

A lone supporter of the public health orders, wearing a mask, stood carrying a sign on the sidewalk outside the entrance of the Provincial Courthouse.