Three organizers of Calgary anti-mask rally get tickets, three more face charges

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CALGARY — Police in Calgary have ticketed three organizers of an anti-mask rally held over the weekend.

The province has banned outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people in order to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

Media have reported that hundreds attended the rally in the city's downtown.

Artur Pawlowski has been charged under the Public Health Act with contravening a public health order, failing to wear a face covering where required and failing to have a permit for an event.

David Pawlowski and Ryan Audette are also charged with contravening a public health order and failing to wear a face covering.

A Calgary police spokeswoman says the public health order charges each come with a $1,200 fine and there is a $50 fine under Calgary's mask bylaw.

The charge for failing to have a permit does not have a set fine but is to go to court on March 16.

Investigators are seeking three additional people who face charges.

The Calgary Police Service says in a statement that it's not always safe for officers to issue a ticket at the time of an alleged offence, like during a protest where "emotions are high."

"In many instances, tickets are issued in the hours or days after an infraction based on evidence obtained at the time of the event," police said.

"We know everyone is struggling right now and our intent is not to punish, but to protect the safety of Calgarians as we work together through this pandemic."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published December 2, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story; a previous version had incorrect charges and fines.