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Protestor charged in weekend protest in Whitby

Durham police have laid several charges against a protestor after a weekend rally in Whitby.

Officers responded to a large gathering at the corner of Garden Street and Rossland Road East at around 1 p.m. on April 17, in contravention of the provincial stay-at-home order.

Police assisted with traffic control and were forced to temporarily shut down the roadway for this gathering.

Police say the protest continued on the roadway along Rossland Road East, led by a black decommissioned bus. The vehicle was stopped by police and the operator was issued several provincial offences notices under the Highway Traffic Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA).

The vehicle was being used by the operator during the large gathering along Rossland Road East despite the indoor and outdoor prohibition of organized public events and social gatherings.

As a result, a 53-year-old Clarington man has been charged with unnecessary slow driving, failing or refusing to stop, unnecessary noise, obstructed windows, obstructed windshield, contrary to the Highway Traffic Act, and failing to comply with an order made during a declared emergency, contrary to the EMPCA.

Further charges are expected in relation to the protest; the investigation is ongoing.

Durham Regional Police say they will continue to work with local public health and other officials to ensure compliance of the measures set out by the province to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community. With Ontario under a stay-at-home order, DRPS will be enforcing violations under the [EMPCA].”

Police are reminding residents and business owners to continue to follow guidelines and orders set out by the provincial and local public health officials.

Anyone with new information that could help investigators is asked to contact Central West Division Criminal Investigations Bureau at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 1818.