Gateway Gazette

Peaceful Protests During COVID-19: Premier Kenney

Premier Jason Kenney issued the following statement about peaceful protests during the COVID-19 pandemic:

(May 11, 2020) “The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental right that includes both the freedoms of speech and assembly.

We understand that a number of peaceful protests have occurred outside the legislature since a public health emergency was invoked, where protestors observed physical distancing guidelines largely without incident. Yesterday was the first time an arrest occurred.

“Elected leaders do not direct operational decisions of law enforcement officials. We are inquiring why an arrest occurred yesterday, but not at previous protests. If we are not satisfied with the explanation, the government will modify public health orders to clarify that it is acceptable for individuals who are respecting physical distancing guidelines to be present in outdoor public venues, including for the purpose of protesting.

“We recognize that law enforcement is dealing with a situation without precedent during this pandemic. At the same time, we expect that law enforcement will exercise common sense in respecting both fundamental rights and protecting public health.” 

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