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RCMP arrest 5, ticket 43 maskless protesters at Kamloops Superstore

Police responded following reports of increased intimidation and escalation during weekly protests
RCMP officers detain and speak with one of the protesters at the Real Canadian Superstore in Kamloops on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. (Kamloops This Week/Facebook)

By Kamloops This Week

Five people were arrested and dozens of fines were issued on Monday, Jan. 10, as a result of a weekly maskless shopping campaign carried out by a group known as Take Action Kamloops.

Kamloops Mounties responded to the Real Canadian Superstore, at Columbia Street and Summit Drive in Sahali, following reports of increased intimidation and escalation occurring during the organized weekly protests, which begin at 6:30 p.m. each Monday and are organized via Take Action Kamloops’ Facebook page and emailed messages.

Kamloops RCMP Supt. Sydney Lecky said officers initially tried to use an educational approach to convince those in the shopping protest to follow public health orders and don masks — or leave the store.

Lecky said when the attempt was unsuccessful, officers handed out 43 tickets under the Emergency Programs Act, each with a fine of $230.

Five people were also arrested after they failed to identify themselves or leave the store, while about 18 others were escorted out of the store without issue.

“We’ve always promoted an education-first approach and that will continue,” Lecky said. “In the past, some of these protesters were reportedly intimidating employees and customers, approaching people in the store and telling them to take off their mask. We’ll do what we have to do, but we’ve always tried to show a measured approach.”

Those arrested were later released, pending the investigation’s conclusion and any charges approved by Crown.

In addition to organizing the maskless Monday shopping protests, Take Action Kamloops also stages rallies in Riverside Park and elsewhere to protest public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more: North Okanagan-Shuswap schools change mask rules in effort to get ahead of Omicron

Read more: B.C. hospitals see more COVID-19 admissions in Omicron surge
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