Hundreds of people flooded a downtown intersection in Nelson on Wednesday to demonstrate against the B.C. government’s upcoming vaccine passport plans.
The atmosphere at the intersection or Ward and Vernon Streets was a loud mix of celebration and anger, with many vehicles honking in support.
Several people interviewed by the Nelson Star said it was the province’s plans for a vaccine passport that brought them to the street.
“The vaccine passport mandate changes things, makes it a lot more real for a lot of people, and there is a lot of pent-up energy,” said Jericho Judson. “I appreciate businesses might want to have their own protocols, but when the government steps in, it creates a class system in our society, it separates people.”
John McKinnon agreed that it was the passport that prompted the large turnout.
“They went over the line a long way,” he said, before going on to say he believes mainstream media is lying to the public about the pandemic and that Canada is becoming a communist country.
Trisha Elliot said the protest brought out so many people because, “this is not about masks or no masks, vaccine or no vaccine. This is about personal freedom and medical tyranny. This is is a human rights issue now.”
The protest was billed as a rally of support for heath care workers, which was mentioned by several people who spoke to the Star.
“People who are there to protect us should be able to make decisions for themselves for their own health,” said Caroline Moustache.
The provincial government has announced that proof of vaccination will be required for visits to restaurants, movies and other indoor group activities in B.C. starting on Sept. 13.
As of Aug. 31, in the Nelson local health area that includes Salmo and parts of the Slocan Valley, 74 per cent of eligible people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 65 per cent have received both doses.
Forty-two per cent of 12-to-17-year-olds are fully vaccinated, 57 per cent of 18-to-49-year-olds are fully vaccinated, and 76 per cent of people ages 50 and older have received both doses.