A crowd of protesters packed the sidewalks outside Nelson City Hall on Saturday to demonstrate against COVID-19 vaccines and restrictions.
The protest, and others like it across Canada, were held in support of a truck convoy that drove to Ottawa for a massive event on Parliament Hill on Saturday.
The event in Nelson hardly rivalled the participation in Ottawa, but was among the largest of its size in the West Kootenay city.
Protesters waved Canadian flags, cheered at honking trucks and otherwise appeared peaceful and celebratory even as they denounced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal Liberal government and B.C.’s public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The demonstration comes as the Nelson area reports record-high COVID-19 cases. The city has had 620 new cases between Jan. 2 to Jan. 22, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. That compares to the 921 cases Nelson had in all of 2021.
Those case counts are also likely under reported following provincial policy changes that no longer recommend anyone but people who are immunocompromised or work in high-risk settings like hospitals receive PCR tests if they have COVID-19 symptoms. Contact tracing efforts by health authorities have also ended.