The town of Aylmer, Ont., has declared a state of emergency ahead of a rally scheduled for this weekend.
The declaration, signed by mayor Mary French, says the emergency went into effect at 2 p.m. Monday “as a result of the potential for civil unrest and service disruptions relating to protests and demonstrations regarding COVID-19 directions, recommendations and orders set out by the Province of Ontario and Southwestern Public Health.”
Aylmer police said in a tweet that the move was in direct response to an “anti-masking freedom march” planned for Nov. 7.
Town of Aylmer declares State of Emergency. This action has been taken in direct response to a 2nd Anti-Masking Freedom March planned for Nov 7th. The potential for civil unrest and service disruptions, has prompted this response. pic.twitter.com/y2550YRSmZ
— Aylmer Police (@AylmerPolice) November 2, 2020
The rally dubbed a “lawful public freedom march” was billed as a family-friendly event and was to take place at the East Elgin Community Centre parking lot.
The rally was to be the second of its kind — the first was held on Oct. 24 — with a focus on what organizers believe to be restrictive government policies and advocating for freedom.
Aylmer has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Oxford, Elgin and St. Thomas counties thus far, with 89 of the 337 cases reported by the Southwestern Public Health Unit on Monday coming from the town.