‘Not private property’: Ryerson responds to anti-lockdown protestors near Lake Devo

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By Charlize Alcaraz

Demonstrators gathered on Ryerson’s campus on Saturday to protest the Ontario government’s lockdown measures. 

A video posted to Reddit shows protestors gathered by Lake Devo, just outside of the Ryerson Campus Store at Victoria and Gould streets. 

“They care about their wealth, not about your health,” one of the demonstrators said in the video. 

The Toronto and Peel region, along with the North Bay-Parry Sound district, remains under the grey lockdown zone while the rest of the province gradually reopens, according to the COVID-19 response framework. 

The stay-at-home order was also extended in these regions until March 8, “based on key public health indicators and following consultation with the local medical officers of health,” according to the Ontario government’s press release

As stated in Ontario’s public health guidelines, outdoor public events and social gatherings are limited to 10 people as long as social distancing can be maintained in regions under the grey lockdown zone. The limits also apply to “gatherings in private dwellings, including houses, apartment buildings and post-secondary student residences.” 

The video showed more than 10 demonstrators protesting on campus who were not wearing masks and failing to follow social distancing guidelines. 

In response to the illegal large gathering on campus, Ryerson’s central communications said, “The streets running through our campus, such as Gould and Victoria streets, and the areas by Lake Devo are not private university property.”

“This is City of Toronto property and the city does not require permits for people to gather or for peaceful protests.”

The Ontario government declared a second provincial emergency on Jan. 12 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act where officers can act on people not following the stay-at-home order.  

“Officers can exercise discretion in every situation,” said deputy chief of Toronto Police Services (TPS) Myron Demkiw in a press release. “But, where there is evidence of non-compliance, officers will be ticketing and issuing summonses for individuals and businesses.”

In relation to the protests on Saturday, TPS arrested Viatcheslav Klimov, 52, and charged him with failing to comply with an emergency order and obstruction. Kelly Anne Farkas, 38, was charged with common nuisance and failure to comply with an undertaking. 

Two other demonstrators were also issued provincial tickets for failing to comply with an emergency order. 

TPS did not confirm if the arrests were made on campus. 

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