Anti-masks, vaccine passport protesters storm Canadian Tire in Nanaimo

A boatload of anti-masks and anti-vaccine passport protesters rushed into a Nanaimo Canadian Tire Monday night, forcing the store to close early and resulting in a significant police response.

The event was organized and led by Chris Sky, a man who wrote a book about what he calls restrictions on Canadian freedoms.

The incident began in a Nanaimo park on Monday, a planned stop for Sky on his “No Vax Pass” trip on Vancouver Island.

What followed was that he and other followers walked to a Canadian deck and paraded through the store without their masks on.

“We are really enjoying our freedom here. Ladies and gentlemen look at this. Absolutely all maskless. This is insane. This is what we call freedom,” Sky said as he walked down the aisle.

RELATED: Thousands Protest Across BC against ‘tyranny’ of vaccine mandates

Police say they were called to a riot in the store by a COVID-19 anti-mask group of up to 200 people.

“They went into the store. They expected to be treated by an employee. The management of the store decided to remove most of the employees for their safety and kept only one skeletal staff,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of Nanaimo RCMP.

“Protesters went through self-checkout. They lasted about half an hour. They did not steal anything. They were not antagonistic, and they left soon after. “

A livestream video shows dozens of people arriving at the store after police were already at the scene. Police let the group, all of whom were not wearing masks, walk past them and enter the store.

“The RCMP is here. They led us inside. They are here with other local police and they support 100 percent,” Sky said on the livestream.

But the Nanaimo RCMP says letting the group pass did not mean the police tolerated their actions.

“No not at all. Just the sheer numbers of security issues there is no point in stopping it. We locked them inside the store. We monitored the activity. As it turns out, there was no violence. There was no shouting. They made their point. , and then they left shortly after, ”O’Brien said.

The “No Vaxx Pass Tour” made its third stop on Vancouver Island in the Campbell River on Tuesday with a few hundred people in attendance.

Speakers questioned vaccine safety and another government’s COVID-19 policy. The next stop of the tour is in Kamloops and Vancouver.

According to BC’s Provincial Health Officer order, masks are required in all public indoor environments for all people born in 2016 or earlier. Health authorities say facial clothing is a measure that has been shown to suppress the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

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