Around 40 Yellowknife residents gather in –30 C to protest public health measures

·2 min read
Around 40 protesters gathered outside the Greenstone Building in downtown Yellowknife at noon on Saturday. The group gathered despite –30 C temperatures. (Luke Carroll/ CBC - image credit)
Around 40 protesters gathered outside the Greenstone Building in downtown Yellowknife at noon on Saturday. The group gathered despite –30 C temperatures. (Luke Carroll/ CBC - image credit)

Despite frigid temperatures on Saturday, around 40 protesters gathered in front of a downtown Yellowknife building to voice their disapproval of current public health measures.

The protesters gathered at noon as temperatures dipped past –30 C, close to –40 C with wind chill.

"Well, as you can see, everyone is pretty bundled up," said Wade Friesen, the event's organizer. "You'll see people's commitment to the cause."

The protest is part of an event happening in several cities across Canada — including Whitehorse — but this is the first of its kind in the N.W.T., and it came together very last minute, Friesen said.

"I didn't plan on putting the event together," he said. "I was hoping somebody else would ... I waited and waited and waited and nobody put anything together. So yesterday or two days ago, I just quickly threw up an event and spread the word a little bit."

Friesen said he decided to organize and attend because the restrictions have affected the lives of his children.

"Dayhomes have been shut down for us and it's been exhausting trying to find something at –30, –40," he said.

Luke Carroll/ CBC
Luke Carroll/ CBC

'No end in sight'

Friesen also discussed the impacts the public health measures, such as lockdowns, are having on the economy and how studies have found the Omicron variant to be less severe than previous variants.

"What's the exit strategy for this? We don't know what that is, we're tired of it," he said. "Two years later and there's no end in sight — this needs to be over."

The protest occurred outside the Greenstone Building in downtown Yellowknife, which is an office for federal government employees. But Friesen said the protest wasn't planned there because of that connection.

"That wasn't the intention," he said. "It's a good location ... it's got the biggest space for us to assemble."

But he added it was a fitting coincidence.

"It is in front of the federal building, so that is convenient that they had that space for us here."

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