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Anti-lockdown protesters rally outside Ottawa gym

Around 70 people rallied against public health measures that they feel infringe on their liberty and freedoms.
2021-04-08 - Randy Hillier - EO
MPP Randy Hillier speaking at Frst Fitness anti-lockdown/anti-stay-at-home order rally, Bank street, Ottawa. photo by Eric O'Brien

A crowd of protesters against the Ford government's province-wide stay-at-home order say that businesses, not public health officials, should decide whether businesses open their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 70 people gathered over the noon hour, Thursday, April 8, outside FRST Fitness on Bank Street in Ottawa, in an event they said was to support local businesses.

"I believe that everybody is responsible for their own health and they should take their own health into their own hands," said Spencer Ayres, owner of FRST Fitness. "Everybody should be out, opening up their businesses in light of this new lockdown and showing their support for other small businesses."

Ayres said that businesses which promote good living and health should be considered essential, or at the very least, businesses should be able to choose to open their doors on their own instead of having to follow the lockdown rules.

FRST Fitness was fully open, Thursday, in violation of Ontario's stay-at-home order.

The protest was supported by No More Lockdowns Canada, a group founded by Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier. He led the lead the rally with a lengthy anti-lockdown and anti-stay-at-home speech, and said he feels his responsibility as an MPP is to defend his constituents' liberty.

"I have a responsibility to defend their freedom, for them to make the choice, for them to have responsibility, that's what made Canada great," said Hillier. "In every barn yard, in every backyard, in every small business, in every legislature, in every where, I will defend freedom."

The MPP also invited the group members in attendance to Kemptville's South Branch Bistro, Thursday evening, for another anti-lockdown event called a mask-burning party, where he was scheduled to be the guest speaker.

While the Kemptville event is called a mask-burning party, the restaurant said on social media that it was a joke and that no masks would be burned. However, the restaurant planned to open to indoor dining, in defiance of the current stay-at-home order, and host a live musical performance.

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