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Organizer of Hamilton anti-mask rally outside City Hall charged

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Organizer of Hamilton anti-mask rally outside City Hall charged

Hamilton Police say they have charged the organizer of an anti-mask rally that took place in front of City Hall last weekend.

Police said in a release sent Friday afternoon (Nov. 13) that last Sunday (Nov. 8) more than 100 people attended the forecourt at City Hall for a ‘Hugs over Masks’ event to protest current COVID-19 restrictions.

Police say they identified the 26-year-old organizer and informed him that the planned gathering would be breaching offences under the Reopening Ontario Act and charges would apply. The organizer went ahead with the event.

The City of Hamilton By-Law Enforcement and Hamilton Police Service attended the event and confirmed that the number of attendees exceeded the numbers permitted for an outdoor gathering.

The organizer was present at the event and has since been issued a Provincial Offences Act Summons for: ‘Fail to comply with a continued section 7.0.2 order as per Ontario Regulation 364/20, of the Reopening Ontario Act, 2020, section 10.1(1)’. A person convicted of this offence is liable to a minimum fine of $10,000. He will appear in court on February 22, 2021.

Hamilton Police say they are reminding the public that participation in such events could result in charges being laid pursuant to the Reopening Ontario Act.

Residents are encouraged to stay at home when ill, maintain a two-metre distance (six feet) from others, wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible, wash hands frequently with soap and water, and cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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