KELOWNA — An official Remembrance Day service in Kelowna was called off, in part, for fear anti-vaxxers would show up.
They showed up anyway.
“We were worried, to be honest, that something like this would happen,” Legion president John Cashin said after a group of anti-vaxxers disrupted an informal and unpublicized Nov. 11 service at the cenotaph in City Park.
“It’s one of the reasons why we didn’t have our regular service in City Park,” Cashin said. “We thought maybe they’d show up and start hollering. Those people are nuts.”
For the traditional Nov. 11 service to go ahead, Legion officials had considered spending about $10,000 on perimeter fencing and security around the cenotaph plaza.
“Then we could have controlled access and kept those (anti-vax) people out,” Cashin said.
But Legion officials decided, in the end, the expense was too great and cancelled the formal service.
Nevertheless, an informal service did take place at 11 a.m. on Remembrance Day. but it was disrupted when a woman in a long black coat used a microphone to address the crowd and began denouncing public health orders related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As many of us realize, we are in the midst of World War III,” the woman said, as shown in footage obtained by Global Okanagan.
Boos and catcalls quickly rained down on the woman and a man with many medals and ribbons on his chest strode up to her.
“Hey lady, take a look at these,” he said, pointing to his honours. “This is not the f—ing day.”
In the Global video, others in the crowd yell out toward the woman, ‘Get her out of there,’ while a man tries to take her microphone, and a veteran with a Scottish accent tells her, “Why don’t you bugger off?”
“I’m fighting for the freedoms that our soldiers died for,” the woman says.
“You’re not fighting for anything,” a woman tells the anti-vaxxer. “You’re a disgrace.”
Police say they’re investigating.
“Kelowna RCMP officers support a person or group’s right to protest, but when they choose to wilfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony, this is a step too far,” Kelowna RCMP Insp. Adam MacIntosh said in a release.
“Kelowna RCMP will be fully investigating this event to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise, may have been committed and, if appropriate, the submission of charges or fines,” he said.
Police ask all those with video of the event to send them a copy.
Read more Okanagan news at kelownadailycourier.ca