Ottawa’s Anti-lock down Protest

On May 2 2020, protesters gathered at Parliament Hill to oppose Ontario’s emergency lockdown procedures to fight COVID-19. Twenty people gathered for the protest to speak against the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those who attended the protest, claimed the new social distancing laws were too restrictive. Protests have also taken […]

On May 2 2020, protesters gathered at Parliament Hill to oppose Ontario’s emergency lockdown procedures to fight COVID-19.

Twenty people gathered for the protest to speak against the measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Those who attended the protest, claimed the new social distancing laws were too restrictive.

Protests have also taken place on the legislature grounds in Toronto.

The Ottawa protest was in violation of emergency orders which ban gatherings of more than five people, and the maximum fine for this goes up to $880. However, according to Ottawa Police, no tickets were issued.

“Had this protest taken place online, or had these individuals called their local representative to voice their opinion I think it would have been justified. Even if the viewpoint is disagreeing with social distancing orders, you cannot argue science and experts. In my opinion, it’s selfish and tickets should have been dealt out accordingly,” says Mikayla Ramsay, studying general arts, science-media, and communications at Algonquin College.

Many protesters help up signs to show what they are fighting for. “I want to see my friends”, “We pay (with our taxes) to play! Reopen our parks and green spaces!”, “We can’t fight a season of virus with a generation of death and despair.”

Not everyone is in agreement with those sentiments.

“If we start to open up parks and businesses, this will result in a longer pandemic and there is a much higher risk in the virus spreading. If we can just stay inside this summer, this pandemic can be cut way shorter,” says Andrea Al-jouni, an esthetician student at Algonquin.

A big concern that many protesters voiced was that they would not be able to recover financially as quickly as those who are more fortunate. They believe their rights are being ignored.

“I am a strong believer in collective action, unfortunately, in order to save the lives of those compromised, it means economic recessions. Lacking the comprehensive ability or empathy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes is an unfortunate reality for many global issues. In order to contain, control and manage this virus, collective sacrifice is crucial,” says Ramsay.

Algonquin students are worried about this hurting their education, and the longer this lasts, the more damage it could cause, they fear.

“If these protests continue, it can very much affect my education. I am in the esthetician program which is very hands-on learning and face to face interactions with classmates and clients. It has already pushed my third semester to the fall term,” says Al-jouni.

“I understand that people want to get out there, but we have to be responsible. We have to make sure that we protect the health and well-being of every single person in this province,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said about anti-lock down protests.

Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s medical officer of health, has issued a statement saying the current restrictions are working, and she encouraged the public not to give up.

“Physical distancing is working but we can’t let up. Limiting outings to essential trips only is working. We all need to continue to do these things, so that we can be confident in moving forward with relaxing current restrictions,” Etches said.

More information on Covid-19 plans and openings can be found at ottawapublichealth.ca and ontario.ca.

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