Hundreds across Southwestern Ontario gather to protest provincial lockdowns
LONDON, ONT -- In major cities across southwestern Ontario protesters gathered to fight provincial lockdowns.
In Sarnia, Ont. several hundred stood in front of city hall.
"We are here to get small business open," says Jennifer Crawford, the owner of Caryl Baker Visage in Lambton Mall.
"Salons, spas and personal care services are clean and sanitary. We have been following protocol for years, and we can't be open. This is how I support my family."
The event was billed as being part of a World Wide Rally for Freedom and Democracy.
"We are here to stand up for each other and bring everyone together," says Carlene Ficht, owner of Spa Elegance in Sarnia.
"When we went into lockdown again I wanted to cry. We just got open again and government help isn't paying our rent, our housing, our food and supporting our families. It's ridiculous".
In London, Ont. a few hundred people gathered for speeches at Victoria Park, then marched down Richmond Street.
In Windsor, a few hundred lined Ouellette Avenue.
"We are standing in solidarity for small businesses, for kids to play sports and for family members to see family members," says Kate Robinson, owner of the Twisted Apron restaurant.
"We need people to be able to cross the border. We need to take our rights back".
Fellow protester Nancy George owns Windsor Beauty Supply.
"Our lives need to come back, people are suffering, business are suffering, so it's time." says George.
Back Sarnia, Corunna Fitness Centre Owner Ron Theriault grabbed the megaphone.
"I am deemed as non-essential by the government but I am open," says Theriault who was visited and warned by OPP Monday, March 15.
He advised small businesses in lockdown to follow his lead.
"Please Open Up! It's possible, we can do it together".
Sarnia-Lambton MPP Bob Bailey acknowledged those who gathered in his riding.
"For those people there today, I applaud them," Bailey told CTV News.
"But there is as many people who weren't there today who support cautious reopening".
Bailey says he advocated to have outdoor dining in the grey-restrict zone and that began Saturday.
He says he's working on doing the same for fitness centres and personal care services.
"We are pushing for them as well, they are next," says Bailey.
"We are going to do everything we can do to advocate with the medical people and the Premier has the final say. I would really hope that's the next step in the short term to push for some acknowledgement of their cases".