Four people arrested in relation to Winnipeg anti-restriction rally

WINNIPEG — Four people have been arrested under the Public Health Act, according to Manitoba Justice, all of which have ties to an anti-restriction rally.

Video showing the arrest of a speaker at an anti-restriction rally in Winnipeg surfaced on social media Friday night.

It follows a gathering of about 200 people at The Forks in protest of COVID-19 public health orders.

While the rally stayed mostly peaceful, a video posted to the Facebook page of rally presenters following the event shows the arrest of a speaker who was in attendance.

The speaker is one of six people for whom an arrest warrant had been issued for allegedly violating public health orders.

“There’s a number of tools available to investigators and law enforcement under the Provincial Offences Act. A tiered approach to start with education, the issuance of tickets, and ultimately there are other consequences including the issuance of an arrest warrant,” said Insp. Nick Paulet of the Winnipeg Police Service at a news conference before the rally.

Friday morning, Winnipeg Police Service said another one of the six people had been arrested.

An arrest warrant was also issued in Manitoba for Chris Saccoccia, also known as Chris Sky, who was supposed to headline the rally.

He shared online he was longer attending the rally.

In a statement to CTV News, Manitoba Justice said, “Enforcement officials obtained arrest warrants for six individuals under the Public Health Act on Thursday, May 27. Four individuals with warrants were arrested with the assistance of the Winnipeg Police Service. Three individuals were released on conditions and one remains in custody. Two warrants remain outstanding.”

Friday’s rally at The Forks is one of several in the last few months.

“While, ideally, it makes sense as to why wouldn’t we just tell everybody to leave, in the situation that I’m often in, I have to take consideration of resources, the impact of our decisions, and frankly, the ability of alternative ways to deal with the enforcement,” said Paulet.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for The Forks said, “We have made public health enforcement officials and WPS aware of the planned event. We have not provided permission to be on Forks property to this group, nor would we, as current public health guidelines prevent gatherings or events of any size.”

The province said it’s responded and attended, in conjunction with law enforcement, to more than 50 protests in Winnipeg and outside the city.

“It’s potential for that super spreader event. It’s a potential to generate cases, where right now, we don’t need to generate more cases,” said Dr. Jazz Atwal, the deputy chief provincial public health officer. “We don’t need to generate more hospitalizations, and we’re trying everything that we can to prevent that from happening.”

The province said all of these events remain under investigation and additional charges are expected.

“Officials also issued tickets on-site while at the rally, and more fines will be assessed with the on-going analysis of video evidence collected at the scene,” Manitoba Justice said in an email.

-With files from CTV’s Stephanie Tsicos and Renee Rodgers

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