CALGARY – A day of national protest took place Monday as demonstrators against mandatory vaccines and vaccine passports gathered outside hospitals across the country and denounced government mandates.
The protests, planned by a group called Canadian Frontline Nurses, held gatherings in all 10 provinces, including two in Alberta.
The groups stationed themselves outside of Foothills Hospital in Calgary and the Royal Alexandra in Edmonton.
Around 100 protestors could be seen gathered outside of Foothills Hospital with several counterprotesters also taking part.
— Tara Overholt (@CityTara) September 13, 2021
Protestors held up signs that compared vaccine mandates to Nazi Germany and some were seen wearing the Star of David as they liken themselves to Holocaust victims.
Meanwhile, counterprotesters did what they could to provide support for those working in the hospital, which included blasting electronic music to drown out the voices of protestors, and holding up a large banner to block protestors from the hospital’s view.
The group also used a microphone to mock the protestors.
At times during the protest in Calgary, the two groups clashed, with police stepping in to separate the two sides.
WARNING: The following video contains strong language.
Police have dragged a couple of antifa counter protesters away after another scuffle. pic.twitter.com/Smq2GlFMwG
— Tom Ross (@Tommy_Slick) September 13, 2021
While trying to contain the crowd, police were also focused on directing traffic through the area, as many people and ambulances tried to gain access to the hospital.
Meanwhile, similar protests were held in Edmonton with protestors and counterprotesters alike gathering outside the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
While protestors stood on the sidewalk, counterprotesters stood across the street with a microphone and could be heard yelling “leave the doctors and nurses alone.”
— Carly Robinson (@CarlyDRobinson) September 13, 2021
After vaccine passports were announced in several provinces, similar protests held across the country blocked access to ambulances and other medical services.
“It’s hard to feel compassion for individuals who are putting the lives of their fellow Canadians at risk, but they’ve been duped, they’ve been lied to in a systematic way, and have fallen for something that is really, deeply problematic,” said Aengus Bridgman, the director of the Canadian Election Misinformation Project.
He explained that social media plays a big role in how misinformation is spread.
“You’re more likely to believe that piece of information the second, third, fourth, hundredth time you’ve seen it, as compared to that first time,” Bridgman added.
“So, maybe the first time they saw it and they said, ‘this is ridiculous, this doesn’t make sense.'”
On Sunday, a “freedom of choice” protest was held in Calgary.
Hundreds of demonstrators turned up to city hall, where protesters voiced displeasure with Alberta’s pandemic protocols.
Speaking to the crowd, one organizer told protesters that mandates are discriminatory.
While many people claimed to be pro-choice during the protests, there were several signs and chants that were attempting to discredit vaccines and the use of face masks.