About 20 people participated in a car solidarity demonstration for increased prisoner rights and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday. (Baneet Braich photo)

VIDEO: #FreeThemAll group protests for prisoner rights in Abbotsford

About 20 participate in car demonstration outside of Matsqui Institution on Sunday

About 20 people are protesting outside of the Matsqui Institution on King Road in Abbotsford to stop what they say is the unnecessary risk of the spread of COVID-19 at the prison.

Those in attendance gathered on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. for an event called ‘Solidarity car demonstration for prisoners in Abbotsford’.

Video by: Baneet Braich

Organizers stated in a press release that only 22 COVID-19 tests have been conducted at the facility as of May 22. They stated that this amount of tests is too low, especially after an outbreak at the institution earlier this week. The group stated that they are calling for:

– Clemency & immediate release of all prisoners and detainees to meet and ensure adequate physical distancing and quarantine measures

– Testing for COVID-19 and urgent care for all prisoners across Canada

– Daily updates with details about the situation for family members of prisoners

– Public Inquest into COVID-19 Deaths at Mission Institution and the Federal Training Centre

“Outbreaks of COVID-19 across federal prisons show fatal flaws within the Correctional Service of Canada,” stated Michelle Thompson, a prisoner rights advocate in the group’s press release. “The flaws within this governmental body existed long before the onset of this global pandemic, and they have become increasingly deadly, as we learn of a new outbreak at Matsqui. As someone whose loved one is currently held inside a federal prison, I have firsthand knowledge of how CSC has not addressed the crisis. So many people inside are needlessly suffering without any means of holding the prison system accountable.”

RELATED: B.C. records 12 new COVID-19 cases, three more deaths

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