3 Hamilton men charged at Hugs Over Masks event, including organizer
Those charged could face fine of $10,000, if convicted
Hamilton police have charged three men, including the organizer of a Hugs Over Masks event that took place by city hall on Sunday.
Police say over 35 people gathered at Bay Street S. and Main Street W. to protest the current COVID-19 restrictions. The event fell on the same day Hamilton surpassed 500 active cases of COVID-19.
Police previously charged a 26-year-old with organizing a Hugs Over Masks event that saw more than 100 participants earlier in November.
Before this event started, police say they identified the organizer and informed him that the event would breach offences under the Reopening Ontario Act. They also said he would be charged.
The organizer went ahead with the event, and was in attendance.
Police say officers went to the Hugs Over Masks protest and confirmed that the number of people there exceeded the number allowed for an outdoor gathering.
A 26-year-old Hamilton man faces charges of failing to comply with the act. He'll appear in court on Jan. 11, 2021.
Police say a person convicted of the offence can be charged a minimum fine of $10,000.
A 48-year-old Hamilton man and a 72-year-old Hamilton man also faced the same charge.
The three men weren't identified in the media release.
Police posted on Twitter earlier this morning to notify the public that there would be heightened officer presence in the area.
Morning <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HamOnt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HamOnt</a>, you may notice an increased police presence at City Hall today.<br><br>Hugs Over Masks & <a href="https://twitter.com/DefundHPS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DefundHPS</a> will both be exercising the right to peaceful protest.<br><br>We will be on site to ensure groups demonstrate safely and peacefully, while following COVID regulations.—@HamiltonPolice
To stop the spread of COVID-19, police are encouraging people to stay home when ill, keep a two-metre distance from others, wear a mask when physical distancing isn't possible, to wash hands frequently with soap and water, and cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue.