Anti-lockdown rally held in Pembroke

PEMBROKE-More than 150 people gathered in Riverside Park in Pembroke on Saturday for an anti-lockdown rally, calling for businesses and communities to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re anti-lockdown, we want to help the lockdown end,” Jack Lapierre, one of the speakers at the rally, told CTV News Ottawa. “Businesses are essential services. People need their businesses to be open.”

Lapierre said the gathering was to get people back to their lives safely, and admitted the group was not anti-mask, anti-social distancing, or anti-vaccine.

Rob Stocki also spoke at the rally and claimed he was a member of the group “Police On Guard.”

“Our purpose, our hope in gatherings like this is to let people know what their rights are and that they have a voice, and that the government, as much as they want, cannot prevent people from peaceful gathering, “Stocki said, adding that he was excited to go on Saturday.

“The marches months ago were only a few hundred people. Now is the last time I [at a march], there were 12,000 I talked to, and we grew. People are getting tired. “

The Pembroke rally has been promoted online in recent weeks, with an advert published in a recent edition of a local newspaper.

The message from both city and health officials has remained the same since the start of the pandemic; do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The rally caused frustration for the Renfrew County medical officer for health, who is said to have an end in sight.

“We’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe we’ll act on a 60 percent vaccine, first time shot this week,” said Drs. Robert Cushman. “Mr. Ford opened a few things last week. We expect the schools to open next week.”

While the regional OPP said they were aware of the meeting on Saturday, the Pembroke mayor said the town was not directly notified of the events that took place.

“I understand the disappointments, and we’ve been through them, almost 15 months now,” said Mayor Michael LeMay, who believes it was a small minority of the town’s population who attended the rally. “Everyone is doing their best, and I think at this stage we’re very close. This rally was so intense that it was held at a time when it shouldn’t have been known, because of Ontario provincial law.”

“We don’t trust the government,” Lapierre said, when asked why the rally was held close to the planned opening dates as well. “[They] saying things will start to end by the end of June, we don’t know if that’s why. “

In an effort to ease the tension, the Renfrew County primary care physician is offering hope to everyone, that the region is ready to hit 60 percent of the first vaccination dose mark this week.

“June starts on Tuesday, and I think by mid-June, kid we’re going to see a big change,” Drs. Cushman.

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