Nearly 150 participants from London and surrounding areas gathered to protest COVID-19 restrictions, claiming they are an infringement upon their rights.

“I’m not sick why would I wear a mask,” says participant Roz Hawke.

The participants huddled together in the middle of Victoria Park to listen to rally leader’s speeches.

“Whatever the government does in the name of safety only makes us sickly, weak and dependent,” Kimberly Neudorf said during her speech.

While the majority of protesters are from London, some came from neighbouring areas including Chatham-Kent, Aylmer and Ottawa among others.

“We were at Ottawa and we’re going to go to Toronto soon,” says Hawke.

“(COVID-19) cases mean nothing. Cases means, I don’t even know what cases means, I wrote to them (government) and said your numbers are confusing your dialogue is confusing, tell it to me like I am a 6-year-old.”

Some people on the sidelines were not in support of the groups message, saying masks are needed to keep people safe.

“I want to see my grandkids grow up… people are dying everyday in hospitals. We need patience, we need to err on the side of caution, we don’t see a fire and jump into it,” says Hassan Abdirahman.

On Nov. 19, Medical officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie drove home the message that masks are effective and not a political issue.

“Unfortunately this keeps coming up… this is folks needing attention for themselves. Masks are now very well established as an important control measure in reducing the spread of COVID-19. No one has ever said they are perfect but they definitely contribute to reducing the spread.”

The rally continued for several more hours.

London police who were monitoring the protest say it remained peaceful.

Some protestors say they will continue holding ‘freedom rallies’ into the winter months.