OPP investigating pandemic protests

As of Tuesday no charges had been laid in eastern Ontario, Acting Sgt. Annie Collins said.

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BELLEVILLE — Ontario Provincial Police are investigating public demonstrations occurring during the provincial lockdown and state of emergency.

Police report at least six recent demonstrations in eastern Ontario, including those opposing lockdowns and the wearing of masks.

Officers advise everyone to follow emergency measures and public-health recommendations, but also note they are enforcing those measures in partnership with health units, bylaw officers and other agencies.

“Public safety, including that of demonstrators, is always the top priority,” the OPP said in a media release on Tuesday. “As a result, charges may not be laid at the time of the incident, but could be laid at a later time after a thorough investigation.”

Fines are $750 for breaching an order and $1,000 for preventing others, including employees or other workers, from following an order. The maximum personal fine is $100,000; for corporations, it’s $10 million. Jail time may also result, police noted.

As of Tuesday no charges had been laid in eastern Ontario, Acting Sgt. Annie Collins said.

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“Anyone who believes a gathering is not following the law or a business is operating illegally should report it to their local municipal bylaw enforcement authorities or police service” or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, the release said. Call 911 only in an emergency.

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