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Dozens of protesters in Toronto gather for planned demonstrations outside hospitals

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Dozens of protesters gathered outside Queen’s Park in Toronto on Monday in front of the number of demonstrations against vaccines planned outside hospitals today across Canada.

Politicians and healthcare organizations called the protests against COVID-19 measures “completely unacceptable” and unfair to healthcare workers and patients.

The protests were organized by the Canadian Frontline Nurses, a group founded by two Ontario nurses who have promoted conspiracy theories about COVID-19 and attended rallies in the US for those who think the pandemic is a “hoax” “.

The group posted announcements of “silent vigils” expected to take place in all 10 provinces, saying they were intended to criticize public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Organizers say they want to take a stand against what they call “tyrannical measures and government expansion”, adding that they are not encouraging nurses to come out in shifts or abandon patients.

But Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, whose province was among those targeted by similar protests in the past after he announced plans for a vaccine test system, condemned the final round Sunday in a Twitter post describing events such as “selfish, cowardly and reckless.”

The Ontario Registered Nurses Association and the Ontario Medical Association issued a joint statement “strongly condemning” planned outages and calling for designated safe areas around healthcare facilities to protect staff and patients, a proposal that the New Democrats of the province have also presented.

“Nurses, doctors and other health care workers have worked 24 hours in the front lines of the pandemic for 18 months helping to keep our communities safe,” the joint statement said Sunday.

The University Health Network, which runs Toronto General Hospital, said staff caring for people dying from COVID-19 are particularly frustrated, noting that health care workers are caring for COVID patients. 19 for 18 months despite the risks to themselves and their families.

“Vaccinations offer the best chance to prevent hospitalizations, ICU admissions and ventilation to save lives,” the hospital network said in a statement.

“Watching protests in front of hospitals is demoralizing for all those who work here, but especially for the staff who cared for people dying from COVID-19, often without the whole family and loved ones around them.”

Some of the protesters carried signs calling for “freedom of choice”. (Patrick Morrell / CBC)

Some nurses and doctors at Ottawa Hospital said last week they had to constantly remind themselves that the protesters were not the majority.

Dr. Kwadwo Kyerementang, head of critical care at Ottawa Hospital, said it was important not to let the small number protesting undermine the positive response health workers have received from most Canadians.

“I do not want some of the elect to be loud,” he said. “Our staff, they have worked hard, they have put in extra effort there. And I know most Canadians, most Ontarians, most people in Ottawa are so grateful for our efforts. We hear it every day.”

Kyerementang also said the protest is good, but blocking access to hospitals for patients is not.

“One thing I would say that worries me is whatever your protest, it should not hinder care,” he said.

“These COVID-19 heroes need resources and support to continue the battle now in the fourth generation. They can not and should not be distracted, or worse, discouraged by protests on the doorstep of their jobs.”

At least one emergency nurse in Toronto agrees.

“There has been harassment and harassment,” said Vikky Leung, a nurse at a hospital in Toronto, who filed a petition over the weekend also seeking the creation of safety zones around hospitals.

“There have been emails telling my colleagues not to wear cleaners or anything that identifies them as healthcare workers and I think that ‘s really disturbing and scary.”

Leung is on maternity leave but said she felt fear and disappointment after hearing from her colleagues about their experiences.

“People [are] stressed and depressed and really feels unappreciated, “she told CBC Radio’sMetro Breakfaston Monday.

“It’s hard to see that when you get in and out of work, these people spend their time and energy promoting that kind of propaganda.”

Staff will be protected, says the mayor of Toronto

Toronto Mayor John Tory also tried on social media to condemn the planned protests for several of the city’s hospitals, adding that he was in contact with the local police chief about the events and received assurances that staff would be protected and patients would be could enter buildings.

“I support the police in taking any action necessary to protect the lives of innocent people seeking medical attention and all of our healthcare heroes,” Tory wrote on Twitter.

“We have passed the time when this tyranny of some may interfere with access to health care during a pandemic.”

Toronto police say they will issue charges where necessary.

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh said it was wrong to protest in hospitals.

“No health care worker, no patient, no one seeking health care should in any way be restricted or have a barrier to getting the care they need,” he said during the campaign at Sioux Lookout, Ont.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toolealso also expressed disappointment.

“This kind of harassment and protest in front of hospitals is completely unacceptable,” he said.

Past protests have focused on public health measures and the prospect of vaccination testing systems that would restrict access to many public places for those who have not been immunized against COVID-19.

The British Columbia system goes into effect on Monday, while that of Ontario is set to launch on September 22nd.

Quebec appeared earlier this month, Manitoba began issuing vaccine cards in June, and both Nova Scotia and Yukon have said vaccine testing systems are in place.

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