Hamilton police charge 22 with COVID-19 breaches at anti-mask, pro-Palestinian events

Two separate demonstrations in Hamilton on Sunday resulted in 22 charges for not following current provincial COVID-19 regulations.

Hamilton Police say eight people were charged in connection with another Hugs Over Masks event out front of city hall.

The charges were for gathering at an event that exceeded the number of people allowed.

Authorities have laid multiple charges over the past few months for Hugs Over Masks events, which have been a regular occurrence in Hamilton on Sundays since July 2020.

The latest event drew 20 people.

Read more:
Police lay charges in Hamilton, St. Catharines in connection with COVID-19 protests

Meanwhile, a protest in support of the Palestinian people, which drew about 1,000 later on Sunday, led to 12 charges, while two organizers received additional charges under the Reopening Ontario Act.

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Investigators say there may be further charges as the event is still under review.

During a COVID-19 update from the city last week, emergency operations centre (EOC) director Paul Johnson said protests continue to be an “unfortunate” occurrence every weekend in the city amid the stay-at-home order.

The EOC boss said charges laid by both police and bylaw officers typically are not the only ones as some of the demonstrations are still under review “after the fact.”

“Sometimes we need to investigate, and are really focused on making sure that the organizers of these events are found and the charges are laid appropriately,” Johnson said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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