The Manitoba government says public health enforcement officers were on-hand at two anti-restriction rallies held in Winnipeg and Winkler over the weekend, and charges are expected.
In a release Monday, the province said officers collected video evidence at both rallies “in support of ticketing for non-compliance with public health orders.”
“Officials advise the choice to defy public health orders is a serious offence and violators will be held to account,” the provincial release reads.
“Investigations continue for all events and charges are expected.”
Meanwhile, the province says justice officials continue to investigate a large rally held at The Forks in Winnipeg April 25 that drew hundreds of protesters — most of whom were seen without masks and defying physical-distancing regulations — in opposition to the province’s restrictions.
So far 20 people have received $1,296 tickets in connection with last month’s rally at The Forks, according to officials. The investigation continues and more charges are expected.
The province’s release came as more than 100 people were estimated to have attended a rally against COVID-19 restrictions held outside the provincial courts building in Winnipeg Monday.
The latest rally was held in support of a court challenge launched by seven Manitoba churches fighting the province’s COVID-19 restrictions.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, a Calgary-based group representing the churches, has said the restrictions are unjustified violations of charter-protected freedoms.
Under current health orders, in-person worship services in Manitoba are restricted to 10 people or 25 per cent capacity — whichever is less — and everyone is required to wear a mask.
Manitoba health officials announced 251 new COVID-19 cases and one death Monday after four deaths and 554 new cases were reported over the weekend.
Since March 2020, 979 Manitobans with COVID-19 have died and 39,524 people have fallen ill to the virus.
–With files from The Canadian Press
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