Police stepped in to settle a confrontation between two individuals at an anti-COVID-19 restriction rally in downtown Kelowna on Feb. 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Police stepped in to settle a confrontation between two individuals at an anti-COVID-19 restriction rally in downtown Kelowna on Feb. 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Tensions rise between protesters, counter-protesters, at Kelowna anti-restriction rally

More than 100 people gathered at Stuart Park across from Kelowna City Hall on Saturday

Tensions are rising between two groups, one opposing, one promoting COVID-19 restrictions in Kelowna.

A planned ‘mega rally’ for downtown on Saturday (Feb. 13) resulted in more than 100 protesters gathering at Stuart Park, across from several counter-protesters stationed in front of Kelowna City Hall.

The counter-protesters shouted through megaphones, attempting to drown out the messages of those with microphones across the street.

At one point, a protester crossed the street and approached a counter-protester with a megaphone, slapping it away from his mouth. The altercation attracted the presence of police who were parked nearby in unmarked cars.

Mounties issued a ticket, for what and to whom isn’t known.

Warning: the following clip contains profanity

Police were seen writing a ticket following an altercation between a protester and a counter-protester at an anti-COVID-19 restriction rally downtown Kelowna, Feb 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Police were seen writing a ticket following an altercation between a protester and a counter-protester at an anti-COVID-19 restriction rally downtown Kelowna, Feb 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

So far, the anti-restriction protest organizers have received thousands in fines from police for violating COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. Despite this, they continue to gather.

Many could be seen holding signs and waving at drivers. A merchandise table was set up where clothing and signs with the word ‘freedom’ were being sold. Children could be heard coming to the microphone to take their stance on the regulations.

“It’s fighting for your freedom. It’s being stripped away, and it shouldn’t be. It’s Canada, for crying out loud — it’s sad that our rights are being taken over something that’s false,” said an anti-restriction protester who refused to give their name.

“Everyone wants our freedom back. That’s all. It’s just our rights. Our freedoms. It’s all we ask for.”

Tyler Paulson, the individual shown in the clip with the megaphone, has been showing up to the protests each weekend to counter-protest. However, recently, he said things have been escalating.

”Someone needs to show up and say ‘No, this isn’t okay,’” Paulson said.

Tyler Paulson pictured (middle) arguing with an anti-restriction protester in downtown Kelowna on Feb. 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

Tyler Paulson pictured (middle) arguing with an anti-restriction protester in downtown Kelowna on Feb. 13. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

“It’s (physical violence) definitely escalating more… nobody’s actually gotten hit yet, but there are tensions rising, yeah.”

Alongside Paulson, a small group of counter-protesters stood in front of city hall, observing the gathering.

“I’m against the culture, the mentality they’re spreading. And to me, that’s the trouble,” said Reuben Scott.

The Capital News has reached out to Kelowna RCMP for further information on altercations and/or tickets issued.

Last week Kelowna’s mayor and RCMP superintendent discouraged people from attending the rally.

READ MORE: Kelowna officials warn against anti-COVID protests ahead of planned ‘mega rally’

READ MORE: Cause of Lake Country woman’s death on Okanagan Lake ‘undetermined’: Coroner

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

@newspaperphil
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jean Latval (left) and Elinor Turrill. (File photos)
Lumby community pillars to be honoured with commemorative bench

GoFundMe launched to help raise $2,500 to memorialize Jean Latval and Elinor Turril

Life and Faith columnist Jim Taylor outlines some helpful tips for a fruitful conversation. (Lexi Bainas - Gazette file)
Taylor: Guidelines for discussions

Jim Taylor says don’t rely on external authorities in conversations with others

Protesters gather in front of the Vernon Law Courts in the final week of the trial of Curtis Sagmoen, Wednesday, Dec. 18. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Sagmoen to enter plea for assault charge involving North Okanagan RCMP

The offence allegedly took place on Oct. 29 in or near Spallumcheen

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Okanagan-Shuswap real estate market continues hot start to 2021

Sales in February were up more than 100 per cent over last year, reports the Association of Interior Realtors

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The man currently being sought by Oliver RCMP in connection to an assault and robbery at the BC Cannabis Store in Oliver. If you know the identity of the man, the RCMP would like to know. (RCMP)
South Okanagan police looking for man accused in robbery and assault at pot shop

The man allegedly assaulted an employee at the BC Cannabis Store

(Government of B.C.)
(Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at two Kelowna schools

Pearson Road Elementary, Rutland Senior Secondary confirm one case of the virus at each school

The Brooke Drive interchange is part of the Chase Four-Laning Project currently being worked on by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure image)
Second phase of Highway 1 four-laning in Chase expected to be tendered soon

Work already underway for Chase West phase of project

Shuswap Adventure Girl Sarah Tokarek has a particular passion for hiking trails around Blind Bay and the South Shuswap. (Contributed)
Shuswap mom helps others find their own outdoor adventures

Sarah Tokarek is Shuswap Adventure Girl, an online trail guide for the region

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

(Courtesy of West Kelowna Fire Rescue)
West Kelowna structure fire results in death of pets, injured firefighter

Crews arrived at the Ponderosa Rd. home to find the rear of the building engulfed in flames

Lisa Jilg is pictured at her store with signs requesting the donation of items for those struggling with mental health challenges, and those experiencing homelessness. (Contributed)
‘He just wanted to be accepted’: Okanagan mother opens up about son’s fatal overdose

Judgment toward those with mental health challenges needs to stop, says West Kelowna mother

Most Read