A man wearing a face-mask walks past protestors at a rally against COVID-19 public health measures in Creston on Nov. 28. Photo: Aaron Hemens

A man wearing a face-mask walks past protestors at a rally against COVID-19 public health measures in Creston on Nov. 28. Photo: Aaron Hemens

Editorial: A Divisive Demonstration

“Protesting public health measures isn’t going to solve anything. In fact, that’s exactly why we’re still in this pandemic. We are stuck in this pandemic because we refuse to work together to pull ourselves out of it.”

Prior to attending the protest in town against COVID-19 public health measures on Nov. 28, I was expecting a small crowd of no more than 20 people.

You can imagine how surprised I was to see more than 100 members from the community — many of whom were not wearing masks or social distancing — rallying together to voice their dissatisfaction with current health orders.

Juice FM’s Jensen Shields and I roamed around the crowd with our face-masks and spoke with attendants. It was here where some of the most bizarre and disturbing conversations that I’ve had in recent memory took place.

One woman asked me why I was wearing a mask, and I told her it was because I was protecting others in case I was asymptomatic. She told me I was too young to understand what was going on.

Another woman told me that if I took a COVID-19 vaccine, I would turn into a mutant. She and her friend scolded me when I told them that I was the media.

Her friend told me I was funnelling lies and misinformation. I told him that I’m just the editor of a community newspaper who relays information from provincial health experts. He told me that I’m not a newspaper and that “I’m something else” before walking away.

READ MORE: Creston residents rally against COVID-19 health measures

Then came the speeches. When one community member addressed the crowd and said that the “battle is Babylon,” that “Trump had some good things to say,” I knew that I had fallen down the rabbit hole.

This same man called for unity and peace across the globe, emphasizing that love is going to save us. But this protest that he was speaking at completely contradicted these claims. In fact, the event did the total opposite and only deepened the divide in the community.

This was not a protest of love or peace. This was an irresponsible gathering that literally broke the law. Some referred to themselves as rebels and were proud of that. Racist and hateful messages written on signs were paraded up and down the street. It was truly shameful to see the community acting this way.

We’re all tired of this pandemic. We’re all sick of COVID-19. We all want life to go back to normal. That involves doing your part as a member of the human race to combat this virus that is raging a war on us.

But the attendants at this protest don’t see it that way. To them, the fight is against the government, our health experts, our elected officials; our leaders who are trying to navigate uncharted waters. All they’re asking for us is to do our part, and yet we refuse.

Protesting public health measures isn’t going to solve anything. In fact, that’s exactly why we’re still in this pandemic. We are stuck in this pandemic because we refuse to work together to pull ourselves out of it. Don’t claim to fight for unity and peace when your actions are only creating division.

READ MORE: ‘Wear your mask, because it’s the best shot we’ve got’: Creston Valley Hospital’s Chief of Staff

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: aaron.hemens@crestonvalleyadvance.ca


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