TORONTO—Several thousand people marched in downtown Toronto on Saturday as part of a “Worldwide Freedom” rally to protest COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
Rallies were also held in several cities across Canada, including in Ottawa, London, and Calgary, as well as in countries such as Australia, Germany, and Japan.
In Toronto, the protesters departed from Queen’s Park and marched along Yonge Street. Some among the crowd carried signs with slogans such as “Stop the medical tyranny” and “Coercion is not consent” and “No medical apartheid,” while many chanted “freedom.”
Dermot Pomeroy, one of the event organizers, said the idea behind the protest was to oppose the enforcing of COVID-19 vaccine mandates, raise awareness, and “try and come up with some solutions.”
“It’s unfortunate that the government is tricking people into believing—businesses, for example—that public health comes with a mandate. But a mandate is not a law, and they’re breaking laws by enforcing them in the first place,” Pomeroy told The Epoch Times.
“It’s a totalitarian tiptoe. So we’re down here trying to spread the word of what’s going on and get some pushback against the government tyranny.”
Pomeroy, a father of three, said another goal of the rally was to look for solutions to protect children’s rights, including allowing unvaccinated children to participate in organized sports.
“What do we do with all those kids right now whose mental health is suffering and they can’t play hockey, for example,” he said.
Pomeroy said his 12-year-old son has a heart condition that may have been caused by a vaccination earlier in his childhood, as well as Type 1 diabetes, so he does not want to “roll the dice on another vaccine” that could potentially cause more health problems for the boy.
A day before the rally, Health Canada announced that a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been approved for children between 5 and 11, an age group that was previously ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
🇨🇦 Canada – Toronto [Nov 20, 2021]
World Wide Demonstration for FREEDOM #WorldwideDemonstration #NoVaccinePassports #NonAuPassSanitaire #Manifs20novembre #NoGreenPass #PassaporteSanitarioNao #NoVaccineMandates #WorldWideFreedomRally #Torontoprotest #Toronto pic.twitter.com/5U6NmmclDS
— 🍌 BMedia 🇳🇱 (@BananaMediaQ) November 20, 2021
Police service members and health-care workers also joined the Toronto rally.
A retired correctional officer, who wished to be identified only as Terri, said vaccine mandates are leading to “an erosion of freedoms.”
“I’m here because I feel that we are losing our freedoms in Canada,” she said.
Terri is a member of the advocacy group Police on Guard for Thee, which represents active-duty and retired police officers. The group has filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court seeking clarification around the province’s emergency orders.
According to Terri, Police on Guard feels “these orders are a clear violation of our Charter Rights and Freedoms, and are putting active-duty officers in a position of violating their oath to uphold the Charter by making illegal arrests and issuing unconstitutional tickets.”
“Our freedoms are being stripped from us and the police are being put in the position of contributing to that loss. Our hope is that our court action will bring law and order back not only for our citizens but our police as well,” she said.