An anti-lockdown protest at London’s Victoria Hospital – part of a nationwide set of rallies that have drawn widespread condemnation – drew a relatively small crowd of about 200 on Monday afternoon.
The anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown protests, run by a group calling itself Canadian Frontline Nurses, were set to target hospitals in major cities nationwide Monday. London’s drew a relatively small crowd of about 200, including anti-lockdown Aylmer church pastor Henry Hildebrandt.
The protest, which was peaceful, was at the northeast corner of Wellington Street and Commissioners Road – a common spot for anti-abortion protests and nowhere near the hospital’s entrance. The crowd is much smaller than the one that protested at the hospital earlier this month.
“Extremely disappointed to see our hospitals and staff being the target of protests after all of their sacrifice during the pandemic,” Ontario’s health minister, Christine Elliott, wrote on social media earlier in the day Monday.
I’m at the corner of Commissioners and Wellington for the latest anti-mask, anti vax protest… oh look, there’s Henry Hildebrandt from Aylmer’s Church of God….
— Jane Sims (@JaneatLFPress) September 13, 2021
“Peaceful protest is a right, but patients and our health-care heroes do not deserve to be intimidated or obstructed from accessing or delivering care.”
The protests, scheduled for cities from Victoria to St. John’s, are organized in part by Kristen Nagle, a London nurse who was fired from London Health Sciences Centre earlier this year.
She has long been active in protests against public-health measures during the COVID-19 pandemic and attended a rally in Washington on Jan. 6, the same day pro-Donald Trump agitators stormed the Capitol building.
Last November, Nagle was charged for organizing rallies in violation of Ontario’s public health measures. She was put on paid leave from her job at London Health Sciences Centre for actions “not aligned” with her employer’s values. An investigation into her conduct wrapped up by mid-January, and she was fired.
Nagle, a registered nurse since 2006, said at the D.C. rally nurses were being threatened for speaking out or holding contrary views but said that would not stop them standing up for the truth. She also slammed policies she said isolate new mothers at a critical time.
Premier Doug Ford ripped Monday’s nationwide protests as “selfish, cowardly and reckless” in a post on social media.
“Our health care workers have sacrificed so much to keep us all safe during this pandemic,” Ford wrote. “They don’t deserve this kind of treatment — not now, not ever. Leave our health care workers alone.”
CORONAVIRUS CASES: THE NUMBERS
(*Figures for Southwestern Ontario as of Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, at 5 p.m.)
- Ontario — 575,219 cases
- London-Middlesex — 13,656 cases, 236 deaths
- Elgin-Oxford — 4,158 cases, 85 deaths
- Brant — 3,734 cases, 25 deaths
- Chatham-Kent — 2,233 cases, 17 deaths
- Sarnia-Lambton — 3,725 cases, 69 deaths
- Huron Perth — 2,087 cases, 63 deaths
- Grey-Bruce — 2,274 cases, 14 deaths
- Windsor-Essex — 19,025 cases, 446 deaths