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More than 150 anti-vaccine protesters storm Nanaimo store

No arrests made after ‘disruption’ at Canadian Tire causes most staff to vacate building, say RCMP
More than 150 unmasked anti-vaccine protesters stormed the Canadian Tire store in Nanaimo on Monday, Nov. 1, drawing a police response. (File photo)

A Nanaimo store found itself in the crosshairs of the anti-vaccine movement when a protest was staged at the store last night.

The incident at Canadian Tire on Monday, Nov. 1, involved more than 150 people, not wearing masks, who entered the store shortly after 6 p.m. causing staff to vacate for safety reasons.

“We responded to a report of an anti-vaxxer protest at Canadian Tire involving somewhere between 150 to 200 people,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “They all entered the store at the same time … it was a co-ordinated protest led by one person. They’re doing roving protests throughout the province.”

About 15 to 20 RCMP officers arrived at the scene.

O’Brien said the unmasked protesters were hoping to make a statement, but when they tried to ring products through the checkouts, store staff refused to serve them. The store manager, concerned for his employees’ safety, directed the majority of staff to leave the store.

“We identified who was leading the protest. We had dialogue with them. They made their point and they left shortly thereafter, about 30 minutes or so,” O’Brien said. “No arrests were made and no charges pending.”

Police accompanied the protesters into the store. O’Brien said given the number of people at the scene it was best to let them in and let them carry our their protest and leave.

“They were very organized, very motivated,” O’Brien said. “They achieved their goal of disrupting the store and that’s what they did … They were non-violent and nothing was stolen,” O’Brien said.
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Chris Bush

About the Author: Chris Bush

As a photographer/reporter with the Nanaimo News Bulletin since 1998.
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