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Anti-mask group planning multiple rallies in Hamilton this week despite charge



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Anti-mask group planning multiple rallies in Hamilton this week despite charge

A little more than a week after the organizer of an anti-mask group was charged during a rally outside of Hamilton City Hall, the group is planning at least two more demonstrations this week.

According to posts on social media by someone claiming to be the organizer of the Hamilton chapter of “Hugs over Masks”, members will be attending Costco in Ancaster Monday afternoon. A separate post from the same user, whose hometown is listed as Burlington, claims the group is planning to “storm Jackson Square” on Wednesday, beginning at around 12 p.m. in the food court.

Individuals should avoid the anti-mask group in the interest of public safety.

Hamilton Police told that they were aware of the planned gatherings.

While police would not confirm whether the individual responsible for the recent social media posts was the same who was charged, the same individual gloatingly shared a summons they received for failure to comply with the mask by-law under the Provincial Offenses Act on social media. The summons is dated Nov. 8 and the address is that of Hamilton City Hall — the day and location of the rally that resulted in charges laid against the organizer.

The charged party is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 22. They face a minimum fine of $10,000.

The anti-mask rallies planned this week come as Hamilton enters the red zone under the Province’s new COVID-19 restrictions framework.

Hamilton Public Health Services saw 74 new cases over the weekend.

Five more people died of the virus, according to public health, which brings the total to 65 in Hamilton.

The total number of active cases in the city is now up to 400 as health officials continue to see record numbers of COVID-19 infections Ontario-wide.

Editor note: The article incorrectly stated that the Hugs over Masks organizer was “arrested”. He was “charged”, according to Hamilton Police.

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