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'Not on my watch:' Mayor of North Grenville condemns gathering of 200 at Kemptville anti-mask rally

Police have not said if charges were laid, or if any charges are coming.
Photo/ The South Branch Bistro Facebook page

"Our community will not falter because of this one incident."

North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford has responded to an anti-mask rally led by Randy Hiller at the South Branch Bistro in Kemptville.

The rally, on the evening of Thursday, April 8, the Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP, and noted anti-masker, addressed a large crowd to decry the latest provincial shutdown, saying it contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to the North Grenville Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), there were about 200 people at the rally, and video from the site shows men, women and children gathered without masks or social distancing in place. Police have not said if charges were laid, or if any charges are coming. 

Members of the OPP were in attendance with a primary focus on maintaining public safety. Members of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, and North Grenville By-Law Services were also on hand. 
North Grenville Mayor Nancy Peckford says she doesn't believe the event reflects the character or spirit of the community. 

"In fact, from what I understand, very few of those who participated in tonight's actions were, in fact, from North Grenville," Mayor Peckford. "Yes, there were a few, no doubt, but events organized by the No More Lockdowns Canada group are notorious for attracting a small cohort of disgruntled individuals from many different communities who reject the science behind public health, and seek to antagonize and divide communities like ours.  This will not happen on my watch."

The police investigation into the rally is ongoing. 

The restaurant is also facing criticism on social media for holding the event. A flood of reviews have gone up online with a number of people saying, due to the protest, they would never eat there again.  

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