By Lethbridge Herald on September 15, 2020.
A group of about 100 anti-masking demonstrators assembled at Henderson Lake on Tuesday to protest what they say is an overreach by local and provincial government officials into their personal lives, and into their personal freedoms.
“We’re just a group of people that feel like our freedoms and rights are being taken away from us with some of the (public health) mandates that have been put in place,” said demonstration co-organizer Michelle Vanderkooi. “We just want to be here to express we are not happy with that.”
Vanderkooi said most who came out feel that face masks are not an effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and disagree with ongoing public health orders stemming back to when the COVID crisis first began in March.
“(The Province) was shutting down small businesses, but it was OK for Costco and Walmart, and bigger businesses, to stay running because they had food and pharmaceutical in them,” Vanderkooi said. “Where all small businesses were told to shut down because they weren’t deemed essential. That did not seem fair. That did not seem very well thought out. And it has really hurt our economy.
“But I think when the City mandated the mask bylaw that was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” she added, “and kind of woke a lot of us up to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on here?’ Like now we are being told how to dress. We’re being told we have to put something on our faces, and we’re not being given a choice.”
Vanderkooi said part of what she and other demonstrators hoped to accomplish on Tuesday was to send a counter message to what they say is the fear-mongering around COVID-19 from public health and government officials being reported in the media.
“We would like to flatten the fear,” she said. “We flattened the curve, and then we got mandated masks put in place. So we are here to flatten the fear.”
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