THUNDER BAY – Chris Sky may have gotten to speak, but Thunder Bay Police got the last word.
Sky, also known as Chris Saccoccia, was arrested on Tuesday night by police after speaking to a crowd of more than 100 people at Hillcrest Park, more than an hour after a planned anti-lockdown rally went ahead at nearby Waverly Park,
Sky did not attend that first event, having been told by police not to speak in Ontario or hold any rallies while in the province, allowed to cross into the province from Manitoba only because he’s an Ontario resident.
His supporters were led up the hill to Hillcrest Park by one of Sky’s traveling companions, following an hour of anti-Trudeau, conspiracy-laden rants about COVID-19 measures put in place by various levels of government across the country and around the world.
Sky greeted some of his listeners with big bear hugs and joked it wasn’t his fault the crowd had managed to find him, even though it appeared he was waiting for them to arrive, parked in his white Range Rover at the entrance of the popular park.
“I’m here to remind Canadians that we have rights and freedoms, like the right to go to work, the right to refuse a COVID test. The right not to be interned in a government quarantine facility,” he said, interrupted briefly by a counter-protestor in the back calling him a Nazi.
Sky later said the government and powers that be want Canadians to feel scared and hopeless, doing exactly what they’re told to do.
“Every day they tell you to do something else, that’s not for your own good. Closing your business is not for your own good. Putting a mask on your child for eight hours a day is not for their own good. Going to a quarantine hotel makes absolutely no sense,” Sky said.
“This is how you know that it’s not about your safety, it’s about control.”
Brie Nistico wasn’t buying anything that the speakers at the rally were trying to sell. She was one of several anti-protestors who showed up at the early evening event, blaring horns and blasting Celine Dion in an attempt to drown out and frustrate organizers and the 200 or so that showed up for the initial rally, expecting to hear Sky speak.
Nistico said she’s worried about the aftermath of such a large gathering of people, almost none of whom were wearing masks or social distancing, some going out of their way to hug everyone around them, egged on by the speaker at the microphone.
“There’s people coming here and not being safe and this is just going to prolong what is going on in our community and in Canada right now,” Nistico said.
The event, which was watched from afar by police, was mostly peaceful, though a man wielding a walking stick did try to knock over a counter-protestor’s speaker and got into a slight scuffle before being ushered away.
After the Hillcrest Park meet-and-greet and speeches concluded, the SUV Sky arrived at the park in was pulled over by police, who could be heard telling the occupants they were in violation of the province’s emergency orders. Part of his Freedom Convoy, which began in British Columbia, were denied entry at the Ontario/Manitoba border on Monday, but Sky, an Ontario resident, was permitted into the province.
Sky, 37, faces charges of breach of undertaking and he was also charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. He was released with a future court date.
The event organizers were charged under the provinces Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.