Anti-mandate rally met with counter-demonstrators in front of B.C. legislature

Freya Keddie holds a sign at the B.C. legislature to show her support for vaccination, amidst demonstrators against mandates. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)Freya Keddie holds a sign at the B.C. legislature to show her support for vaccination, amidst demonstrators against mandates. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Several demonstrators gathered to show their support for pandemic-related mandates, vaccination, and healthcare workers. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)Several demonstrators gathered to show their support for pandemic-related mandates, vaccination, and healthcare workers. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
A sign reading ‘honk if you (heart) being double vaxxed,’ is carried by an individual in counter-protest to those demonstrating against pandemic restrictions. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)A sign reading ‘honk if you (heart) being double vaxxed,’ is carried by an individual in counter-protest to those demonstrating against pandemic restrictions. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

The grounds of the B.C. legislature were home to another demonstration calling for the end of pandemic-related mandates on Saturday (Feb. 5).

However, this weekend’s rally looked a little different as attendees with signs that read “honk if you [heart] being double vaxxed,” and “make a choice, accept the consequence,” were held by individuals gathered at the corner of Belleville and Government streets for a counter-demonstration directly across the street from convoy supporters.

The counter-demonstration was initiated by a Reddit user who wrote that they were planning to head downtown to stand in solidarity with everyone who has made sacrifices throughout these past two years.

The post received an influx of support, with 402 upvotes and responses such as, “I like the idea of this!”

ALSO READ: Victoria mayor calls for respect at second convoy, following reports of hate speech, harassment

At the rally demonstrator Freya Keddie held a sign that read “protect our healthcare system! Get vaccinated,” and said she believes in a civic duty to be vaccinated for the common good.

“When you have something like a pandemic or a war you have to think of others, you have to protect the masses and I don’t understand individualism when other people are at risk,” said Keddie.

David Brown, standing among the group of counter-demonstrators with a large Canadian flag, said that he believes in freedom of choice.

“Some people here are holding signs saying get vaccinated – this isn’t about vaccination, this is about choice,” said Brown. “If you want to get vaccinated go ahead, if you don’t want to then don’t – but you shouldn’t hold people’s livelihood hostage and force them because then you’ve taken the choice away.”

As convoy supporters continued to stream into the city, the Victoria Police Department published a tweet shortly after 1 p.m. warning motorists of traffic disruptions and encouraging them to avoid the downtown core.

ALSO READ: Thousands gather at B.C. legislature against pandemic mandates


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