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Protesters went too far as they yelled, swore and spat on her car, says Yukon NDP leader

On Thursday, after the final sitting of the Yukon Legislature, Kate White says she was confronted by a group of protesters as she left the building. She says some people in the crowd, who appeared to be against the government's COVID-19 policies, spat on her car.

Kate White says she was confronted by a group of protesters after final sitting of the Legislature last week

NDP Leader Kate White scrumming with reporters after the first sitting of the Legislative Assembly in May. She said some protestors went too far after the final sitting of the Legislature on Thursday, when they yelled, swore and spat on her car as she was trying to leave. (Wayne Vallevand/ CBC)

The leader of Yukon's New Democratic Party says the behaviour of some protesters outside of the Legislative building last week was "unacceptable" and "violent."

On Thursday, after the final sitting of the assembly, Kate White says she was confronted by a group of protesters as she left the building.

While protesters are not an unusual occurrence outside the legislative building, she said on this occasion, some people in the crowd, who appeared to be against the government's COVID-19 policies, were yelling, swearing and spat on her car as she was trying to leave.

White says she felt concerned for her safety and for the safety of her colleagues.

"This is a divisive issue, I acknowledge that, but taking it out in ways that makes people feel unsafe is not going to get people to your side," White told CBC News.

"The best way to communicate what's going on is to, you know, do it without, I guess, including the fear factor. You know, everyone is going through this in a different way and the most important thing is to remember to be kind."

In a written statement on Dec. 10, a spokesperson for Yukon Freedom, which organized the protest at the legislature, denied that the spitting occurred. Videos posted by the group show protestors interacting with White as she walked to her vehicle, with one swearing loudly off camera.

White said she doesn't believe the protesters were specifically targeting her — but rather, politicians in general. She has empathy for people impacted by the government's COVID-19 measures and she respects people's right to protest, she said.

But, White says the actions taken on Thursday, went too far.

"I think there's lots of ways to show your disappointment or your frustration with decisions. But violence is never the answer," she said. "And, that's what that was — it was violent."

She said she was considering going to a rally to hear what people had to say, but since the Thursday incident, has decided it might not be safe.

"I'm still getting lots of emails from folks voicing their opposition to the vaccine mandate," she said.

"I was gonna go at one point to a rally on the Saturday because people say things like, 'you know, you should come and listen.' … I was willing to do that. But Thursday showed that that would actually not be safe."

Despite that, White said going forward she will still continue to listen to people, "even when, you know, we have a difference of opinion."

 

With files from Chris MacIntyre

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