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Anti-lockdown demonstration in Orillia 'just the beginning,' protester says (6 photos)

Dozens gather to protest in downtown Orillia; 'These people are showing up from all over, not just Orillia residents'

Protesters took to the streets of Orillia on Friday in a public display of frustration over the provincewide lockdown.

About 70 people, from kids to seniors, assembled in front of Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop’s office on Coldwater Road. They then walked along West Street to Colborne Street before heading back up West Street to Dunlop’s office.

Dan Halloran was among those who showed up to protest, saying he was concerned about people’s rights.

“We have political officials, whether they’re national officials or international officials, who want to step on those rights,” he said. “As soon as Canadians realize that they’ve been taken away from us, it may be too late. So, we better get out and lend our voice, show up.”

He said he was not concerned about taking part in an event that defies provincial rules during the lockdown.

“I still have my rights and freedoms. They can’t take that away from me,” he said.

Halloran said he believed Friday’s protest was “just the beginning” and he likened it to Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope.

“It started with one man on the shoreline, dipping his leg in the water and going across Canada. This is the same thing,” he said. “It’s going to build momentum. It’s an inevitability. It’s human nature. We are supposed to be free beings.”

Danial Lyn, who used to live in the area but now resides in Barrie, attended the protest “to show support for the Orillia people.”

“People are standing up for a reason. These are all walks of life that are here,” she said, noting people came from various areas, including Keswick, to join the protest. “It’s a community building inside a community. These people are showing up from all over, not just Orillia residents.”

While she said she believes COVID-19 exists, she does not believe the numbers being reported by officials and she does not believe masks or social distancing work.

“I don’t want my children to have to wear masks. I don’t want other people’s children to have to wear masks,” she said.

Many people honked and showed their support for the protesters, though one woman who walked by the demonstration in front of Dunlop’s office told the group, “You’re the reason we have lockdowns.”

It’s unclear if anyone taking part in the protest has been or will be fined or charged. Messages left with Orillia OPP and the City of Orillia have not yet been returned.


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Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is the desk editor for Village Media's central Ontario news desk in Simcoe County and Newmarket.
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