‘Rise Up Kawartha’ protest draws about 40-50 people

By William McGinn

A group calling itself Rise Up Kawartha saw about 40-50 people attend a downtown gathering in Lindsay today to protest vaccines and lockdowns.

Based on a Facebook group which currently has 139 members, the protesters took turns standing in each corner of the intersection of Kent and William Streets. Some were children. Most were unmasked. The Facebook group’s motto is “Let’s support everyone who’s awake and standing up to help others to wake up” and they do not publicly share their posts or discussions.

The protest was organized to be from 1-3 p.m. and during this time, several cars honked their horns in support, including some bus drivers, with most of the honks garnering cheers from the protestors. “Take off your mask!” a megaphone holder was heard saying. “You don’t need it outside, you don’t need it inside!”

A poster which advertised the rally contained slogans like “Leave The Kids Alone, Freedom of Choice, Be Informed, Stand Together and No More Lockdowns.” Signs that were held up by protesters included Vaccine Mandates Violate Bodily Anatomy, If Death Is A Side Effect It Shouldn’t Be Mandated, Local Businesses are Essential, Lockdowns Kill, Let’s Go Brandon, Welcome to Chinada among others. Other signs were less aggressive, with one reading Stop & Come Talk To Us and Please Stop For a Moment And Chat To Us About Solutions.

In many cases, people were unwilling to share their last name.

A protester who goes by Dawn showed up to the protest with her two daughters. “We don’t support the mask mandate,” she said. “Obviously we’re going back to school on Monday but I just don’t believe that the government should be taking away the freedoms of my children. I’m supporting them and they’ll support me when I get older.” Dawn said she thinks the mandates will open the door for additional future government mandates.

Another protestor who called himself Dan said mandates in schools are “segregation.”

“They’re not allowed to play any sports that have contact, they are forced to wear their masks all day and while wearing the masks you breathe in dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide.” [sic]. “It should be freedom of choice and there shouldn’t be a mandate.”

In fact, oxygen and carbon dioxide are very small, so they can easily pass through a face mask.

One protester who said her name was Sue said she just wanted people to know “all we’re doing is a peaceful demonstration trying to alert people to the facts.” She wouldn’t give her last name “because I’m worried about the government.”

On more than one occasion, when the Advocate asked what primarily prompted individuals to go out and protest, the response was “Where do we even start?” Two protestors there were Kerstin Kelly and Malcolm Suddons. Upon being interviewed, Kelly gave the Advocate copies of the new Druthers newspaper. Druthers is a Canadian news outlet that published its first paper in Dec. 2020. Every front page in the monthly paper has been a story arguing against any and all lockdowns and mandates.

“So what did they tell you?” said Suddons. “We’re locking down but things will be good when you get a vaccine. So they rushed a vaccine through and what happened? That vaccine didn’t work did it? So they say you need to take another. That didn’t work so now you need to take a booster.”

Like many viruses, COVID has been able to mutate into different variants that have required further vaccinations.

Suddons said, “Now it’s not the unvaccinated who are infected. If you dig really deep you’ll see that more people vaccinated are sick than unvaccinated.” Dan also said “Now they say people that are double vaccinated are in the same boat as the unvaccinated.”

However, the latest data from the Ontario Science table shows that unvaccinated people are almost twice as likely to contract COVID, almost five times more likely to end up in hospital and over 11 times more likely to end up in the ICU than people vaccinated with at least two doses. For example there are 240.2 per million unvaccinated in the ICU compared to 21.0 per million people with at least two doses in the ICU. 

None of the protesters mentioned the fact that 90 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and over have received at least one COVID vaccine dose compared to only 10 per cent unvaccinated. The transmissibility of Omicron has been proven to not be as deadly as prior variants but significantly more contagious. It is more likely for those who are vaccinated to be in the hospital with mild symptoms compared to those in the minority 10 per cent who test positive.

The protesters’ original poster shared online noted there would be a “Maskless Shop After.” However, the protesters seemed to simply disperse in various directions after the protest.

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