What we know about the organization behind protests against COVID-19 restrictions

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During months In Toronto, The Line Canada staged crowded protests against the lockdown and public health directives aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Most recently, on Tuesday, supporters of the organization were among those gathered at the Adamson Barbecue in Etobicoke, where owner Adam Skelly offered food service, defying recent provincial rules that only allowed take-out and delivery.

The Line Canada established its website on April 30, 2020 to be a hub for several organizations across Canada that have opposed the lockdown and the restrictions that have been implemented to fight COVID-19.

The group calls itself a “civil liberties group” and says it is not an anti-mask organization. Pictures and photos of the rallies show, however, that the majority of supporters do not wear masks and some wear shirts or carry signs ridiculing the use of the mask, despite public health recommendations. The Star has reached out to The Line Canada for comment, but has not received a response at time of publication.

The Line Canada’s national director, Lamont Daigle, also mentioned “no mandatory vaccination” as a goal in a video interview in July.

In Toronto, the group staged self-proclaimed freedom protests, which mostly took place every Saturday in Yonge-Dundas Square, as well as Queen’s Park. Many carry white flags with the group’s logo, a black circle with a red line in the middle.

Hundreds of people participated in the protests, despite the province’s cap on the size of outdoor gatherings (which ranged from 10 to 100 at different times) to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

In mid-October, a demonstration urged the police to react to ensure public safety, and received several responses on Twitter questioning whether enforcing the regulations would result in fines for the size of the rally and lack of physical distancing.

Elsewhere in Canada, The Line has staged protests in Sarnia, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton.

Protests were also held in small towns across Ontario on a weekly basis, including St. Thomas, Ontario. where 200 people arrived, at a time when there was only one active case of COVID-19, leading the mayor to fear the rally was spreading, Global News reported. In Aylmer, Ontario, about 2,000 people from across the province gathered in the town of 7,500 for a protest.

The organization claims to have been banned from Facebook, but maintains Instagram and Twitter accounts.

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Angelyn Francis is a Toronto reporter for The Star who discusses equity and inequality. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government as part of its local journalism initiative. Contact her by email: [email protected]



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