Toronto Police have arrested two protestors following large anti-lockdown protests in the city’s downtown core during the first weekend of the province’s Stay at Home order.
In a release, the Toronto Police Service said that it had arrested the organizers of two large gatherings held on January 16.
Videos posted to social media show hundreds of people marching downtown, denouncing lockdown measures and public health orders.
Police said Lamont Daigle, 49, was arrested and charged with being a common nuisance at Nathan Phillips Square.
Kelly Anne Farkus (Wolfe), 38, also faces a charge of being a common nuisance, and was arrested at Yonge Dundas Square.
Farkus’ LinkedIn page identifies her as the executive director for Getmad (Mothers Against Distancing), as well as the public relations and communications liaison for Hugs Over Masks.
The latter organization held a “major freedom rally” at Yonge Dundas Square today, according to its website.
On January 12, Premier Doug Ford announced a second provincial State of Emergency, as well as a Stay at Home order, which went into effect on January 14.
Under the order, people must only leave home to make essential trips, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing healthcare services, to get exercise, or for essential work.
Prior to the January 16 protests, which both began at 12 pm, Toronto Police reminded Torontonians that gathering limits of more than five people are prohibited.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a public health issue; it is a public safety issue,” police tweeted. “Participating in large gatherings, including protests, is not just in contravention of these orders but also puts attendees and the broader community at risk.”
“When these events happen, police will be present ad prepared to respond appropriately.”
To date, Toronto has seen 75,408 COVID-19 cases and 2,164 virus-related deaths.