OLDS — At its height, about 140 people came out to an outdoor rally in Olds today (Feb. 21) to protest COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the provincial government and Alberta Health Services.
The rally, held in the parking lot of Leo’s Castle Building Supplies Ltd., lasted for about 65 minutes and was organized by the Mountain View Freedom citizens group.
People of all ages were in the crowd, from the elderly right down to toddlers. Most gathered around the stage in front of the store, but some sat in parked vehicles to hear the speeches.
Local speakers were MC Doug Mantai of Didsbury and natural health practitioner Rick Kohut, owner of Health Street Wellness in Olds. Other speakers included former MLA Rob Anderson of Airdrie and casino poker room manager Don Tinordi of Calgary.
The common message was that lockdown measures are an over-reaction to a relatively minor health problem.
Several people in the crowd carried signs saying things like “Crime Against Humanity Open Up Now,” and “Freedom Over Fear”
Rally organizers urged people to donate money to Mountain View Food Bank and many did, piling their donations on the speakers’ platform and an adjacent table.
“Why are we here and what is the focus of this rally,” Mantai asked.
“Freedom,” several people in the crowd shouted.
“Freedom and that all businesses are essential,” Mantai said. “They’re essential to an individual, a family. They're essential to a community. It's not fair for anyone to say that your business is essential but mine is not essential. All businesses are essential and need to be open and that's why we are here."