Manitoba

Anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist arrested after Winnipeg rally

Prominent anti-mask and anti-vaccine campaigner Chris Saccoccia was arrested after a rally at the University of Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Chris Saccoccia, 38, arrested on a warrant against him for violating public health measures

Anti-vaccine and anti-mask campaigner Chris Saccoccia, seen here during a protest against mandatory mask measures in Toronto, was arrested after police saw him at a rally at the University of Winnipeg on Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Police arrested a prominent figure in the Canadian anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement after a rally at the University of Winnipeg on Tuesday.

Video posted on social media showed Winnipeg police officers confronting Chris Saccoccia, also known as Chris Sky, who gets into the back of a police car.

"We have a warrant for your arrest," one of the officers says to Saccoccia in the video. 

Saccoccia was released later Tuesday and has a bail hearing scheduled for Oct. 5.

An arrest warrant was issued for Saccoccia in May after he attended protests against pandemic restrictions in Winnipeg.

Saccoccia addressed Winnipeg police in a video about Tuesday's rally that was posted on social media on Monday.

"I'll be there, you better be there, and if the police want to come get me, come get me, 'cause guess what? I'll be there," Saccoccia said in the video.

Another video was posted to social media after his release.

"Hey guys, I just got out of jail in Winnipeg," Saccoccia says in the video. Saccoccia also says in the video that his lawyer told him the warrant for his arrest had been rescinded before he arrived in Manitoba.

However, the Winnipeg Police Service said in a statement Wednesday that they arrested Saccoccia on a warrant for contravention of the Public Health Act that was issued in May.

The arrest warrant was issued after he violated the Manitoba's self-isolation requirements for people entering the province, and attended an anti-mask rally at The Forks in April that violated restrictions that limited outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 10 people.

Saccoccia, 38, has been travelling across Canada, holding rallies that draw hundreds of unmasked people in defiance of public health orders designed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

He speaks against health measures and urges people not to follow them. His social media posts often contain conspiracy theories and misinformation.

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