Upcoming Vancouver anti-vaxx protest moved to new location, blocks from hospital

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Organizers of a controversial protest against vaccine passports will no longer be holding their so-called freedom movement in front of a Vancouver hospital.

The Canadian Frontline Nurses group had planned to hold a second demonstration Monday in front of Vancouver General Hospital, but an edited poster now shows Vancouver City Hall as the new location.

Despite the Vancouver location change – many other protests organized by the group across the country are still planned in front of hospitals.

It’s unclear why the group changed its location in Vancouver.

The new location is not exactly neutral. Vancouver City Hall is just blocks away from the hospital, and is at Cambie Street and 12 Avenue, which is a major route for patients, ambulances, and staff to get to the hospital.

The group is urging people to stand together “for informed consent & medical freedoms” and attendees are encouraged to bring a flower to represent someone who has been impacted by COVID measures.

Vaccine card anger

Monday’s protest is scheduled for the same day B.C. rolls out the BC Vaccine Card. Only people with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to enter certain settings like bars, sporting events, and movie theatres as of Sept. 13.

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While protesters have continued to demand their right to make their own medical decisions, the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandated in Canada. However, many employers, including governments, have made vaccines required for workers.

Monday’s protest will be the second this month to be held in Vancouver by the group. On Sept. 1, thousands of protesters gathered outside VGH, disturbing hospital patients, staff, and families, and in some cases, disrupting hospital operations.

FFILE – COVID-19 protesters gathered outside of Vancouver City Hall and Vancouver General Hospital on Sept. 1 to speak out against vaccine passports. (Courtesy Twitter/imclaireallen)

Legal options were being considered

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the protesters fanatics.

“All I can think of is, ‘Go the hell home.’ We are just also exhausted. Everybody’s tired of this. And all we need is a bunch of yahoos out there that really just need to get in line with the rest of us that are fighting so hard against COVID,” he said on Sept. 1.

Stewart repeated his defense of frontline workers when he was asked Thursday about the second protest, and he urged protesters to reconsider their location.

Both the mayor and the province have said they were looking at methods to ensure the upcoming protest didn’t have a similar impact on patients and frontline workers.

“When they happened last week, I reviewed the situation thoroughly with Chief Adam Palmer of the Vancouver Police Department, as well as our health authority. I understand that the province is also concerned about this type of action right across British Columbia,” Stewart told NEWS 1130 Thursday.

“We’ve reviewed all our legal options and are going to make sure people can get to health care when they need it and they’re not impeded in any way to get to the hospital,” he said.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix also spoke out about the protesters on Thursday.

“You are allowed to express your views but to interfere with cancer patients, and heart patients, and grieving families, and people who need to use the emergency rooms – there are places to demonstrate that are not our public hospital,” Dix said.

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Protests impact frontline workers

Many frontline workers have spoken out about the impacts these protests are having on their mental health.

It comes as some elective surgeries had to be postponed in some B.C. hospitals due to high ICU cases. Out of the 130 critical care patients in ICU, 111 of them are unvaccinated. Dix says healthcare workers are giving world class care, but “everyone would rather be doing something else,” Dix said Thursday.

On Thursday, flowers and signs were placed outside Vancouver General Hospital to show support for staff. Many healthcare workers said they were touched by the gesture, but they are pleading for everyone, protesters included, to consider humanity as the fourth wave continues.

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