September 20th, 2021

Police, security stand by: Protests planned at Alberta hospitals against COVID rules

By The Canadian Press on September 13, 2021.

The Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary is seen on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services has strengthened its security ahead of planned protests expected to take place outside of several hospitals this afternoon against COVID-19 measures.

The health provider says in a statement posted to social media that protective services staff have been added at the sites to help patients and staff enter and exit safely.

It says fencing has been added around the hospitals to provide a “safe space” and police forces have been contacted.

The Calgary Police Service says it is working with protest organizers, who are to demonstrate outside the Foothills Medical Centre, to lay out expectations for the rally.

The force says in a statement that it will not tolerate any behaviour that hinders people from entering or leaving the hospital and will have officers there to monitor – with backup available, if needed.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Justice Minister Kaycee Madu and Alberta Health Services have all been critical of hospital protests planned in cities across the country.

“While Canadians are entitled to peaceful protest, one can still question the appalling judgment of those protesting across the country today,” Kenney said in a statement Monday.

“It is outrageous that a small minority feel it’s appropriate to protest at hospitals during the pandemic, while our health-care workers continue to tirelessly battle the global menace of COVID-19.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 13, 2021.

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