With fencing ringing Meridian Place in downtown Barrie, lockdown protesters who have gathered in the square every Saturday for more than a month now paraded to Centennial Park.
While the turnout was not as large as previous weekends, the tone of the speeches was the same, denouncing the lockdown and championing a fight for freedom. There were several swipes at Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman, who issued an emergency order on Thursday to fence off Meridian Place.
Barrie Police estimated about 200 people attended the protest.
The rally organizer hinted that he might run for mayor and suggested what they had on hand now was a movement that was getting bigger.
The demonstrators gathered at Meridian Place around noon on Saturday and peacefully marched to Centennial Park for well over two hours of speeches.
Before the speeches began, one of the demonstrators got into a shouting match with another protester. He was led away by police. There is no word on what led to the argument, but police spokesman Peter Leon said a 35-year-old from Stayner has been charged with causing a disturbance and resisting a peace officer.
The crowd was told another rally would take place next Saturday in the parking lot of Sadlon Arena, with independent MPP Randy Hillier as guest speaker.
On Thursday, Hillier was charged by Ontario Provincial Police for his role at an anti-lockdown rally at a restaurant in Kemptville last month.
He was also charged this week for attending a religious service at the Church of God Restoration in Aylmer, where the MPP for Lanark–Frontenac–Kingston joined hundreds of others at the service who were not wearing masks.
Last Saturday, Hillier attended an anti-lockdown rally in Peterborough and was ticketed by police with breaching the stay-at-home order.