Not only did vaccine passport protesters choose Nanaimo’s hospital as a place to hold a rally, but one actually spat in the direction of a health-care worker.
A worker approaching the hospital in the late morning Wednesday, Sept. 1, was spat at by a person they “believed was an anti-mask protester,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
O’Brien said the worker contacted police for information only, so no suspect description will be released.
Hundreds of people protested B.C.’s coming proof-of-vaccine requirements in Nanaimo on Wednesday and there were similar rallies co-ordinated around the province that day.
O’Brien said officers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital observed that protesters generally weren’t obstructing traffic flow or access to the hospital.
“[Protesters] asked our members why they were there and who they support and our standard response was our opinion doesn’t matter, we were there simply to keep the peace and ensure that there was a free flow of people on the sidewalks, vehicle traffic was unimpeded and there was no physical violence,” he said.
Island Health president and CEO Kathy MacNeil issued a statement saying some of the protests against COVID-19 safety measures disrupted safe access to health-care facilities on Vancouver Island.
“Members of Island Health care teams were verbally abused as they came to and left work during these protests, and in at least one case a health-care team member was physically assaulted,” MacNeil said. “What happened to our health-care teams today is not acceptable to me nor to the people and communities they serve. Our health-care teams deserve respect and support, no matter what personal beliefs we hold.”
She thanked those who support Island Health workers and said that support “means the world to us.”