What saw several hundreds of protestors converge at the Vancouver Art Gallery without masks last month during a pandemic is poised for a second life this weekend.
Thousands of anti-mask advocates plan to gather at the “B.C. Freedom Mega Rally” Saturday and Sunday – and not just demonstrators from the Metro Vancouver area.
Anti-mask and anti-vaccine advocates, 5G and QAnon conspiracy theorists, and far-right groups have expanded the protest call to citizens from all across the province.
Spanning over the course of two days, the rally is expected to be the “biggest rally ever in British Columbia and Western Canada,” according to lead organizer Ryan Kulbuba.
This time around, Kulbuba is coordinating car convoys for protestors travelling into Vancouver for the large-scale demonstration.
Kulbuba said the city has become a hub for Canadians to protest COVID-19 regulations including social distancing, quarantine, travel bans, and contact tracing.
During the last rally on Sept. 13, Kulbuba lauded the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) for preserving the group’s “right to protest.”
"They have been nothing but accommodating to us. They are here for our safety," he said.
Police presence expected
Though the VPD then had the ability to impose fines of up to $2,000 for those not adhering to a provincial health ban on events with more than 50 people – no tickets were doled out to organizers or those gathered without social distancing measures.
Kulbuba added that the VPD is aware of the thousands of protestors expected this weekend.
VPD spokesperson Cst. Tania Visintin told Vancouver Is Awesome the force is aware of the rally planned.
"Public safety is our number one concern. We'll be there should anything arise," she said.
The lineup of speakers includes discredited virologist Dr. Judy Mikovitz, homeopathic practitioner Dr. Robert Scott Bell, and alternative medicine practitioner Dr. Rashid Buttar.
Currently, no law forces vaccinations or face masks on B.C. citizens.