About 75 anti-lockdown protesters gathered outside Red Deer provincial court Wednesday morning.
They held up signs that read “Save lives end the lockdowns” and “COVID-19 is a trojan horse used to strip us of all our freedoms.” At one point they broke out in a rendition of O Canada, and cheered honking vehicles.
A lawyer for central Alberta’s Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott was in court Wednesday arguing against an Alberta Health Services application for an injunction ordering him to follow a public health order prohibiting sit-down dining.
Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Gaylene Kendell granted the injunction, saying it was necessary to protect public health.
Scott has said he took a stand because restaurant owners like himself were being unfairly targeted by health restrictions that allow businesses, such as grocery stores and other big chains such as Costco, to welcome customers while owners of smaller businesses must turn away patrons who want to sit down for a meal.
Protester Glen Carritt said people are tired of government hypocrisy. Political staffers are flying all over, but Hockey Alberta is shut down.
He said the number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t justify current lockdown measures.
“We need to get back to our lives. We need to open businesses up. Small businesses are suffering. Every day that goes by, they go further and further in debt. They need to be open,” said Carritt, a former Innisfail town councillor.
He said he knew of several businesses that have reopened, and protesters came out to the courthouse to support The Whistle Stop Cafe.
“We don’t feel they should be ticketed or charged with any offence. They have the right to open up their business.
“We’ve got to keep fighting for our rights and keep moving forward.”
An RCMP officer from the downtown patrol unit was nearby, either photographing, or videotaping, the crowd. Sheriffs from the courthouse also kept an eye on the activity. Police said later no charges were laid or tickets issued.