City of Kelowna seeks injunction to stop 'Freedom Rallies'

City seeks protest injunction

The City of Kelowna is going to court to seek an injunction to stop the weekly anti-vaccine and anti-mandate protests in Stuart Park.

In a petition filed Monday, the city names protest organizer David Lindsay, John and Jane Doe and persons unknown.

The regular protests have been taking place in Stuart Park since May 2020, swelling and shrinking in size with the ebbs and flows of the pandemic and government response to it.

The city’s lawsuit is seeking a court order declaring the protests are violating city bylaws by holding “events” in the park without the city’s permission.

The injunction sought by the city would bar the rallies from taking place in any downtown park, between Recreation Avenue and Harvey Avenue, and west of Gordon Drive.

The city says the protests’ erection of tents, use of amplified sound systems, the sale of merchandise and “standing and loitering” on public roadways are the primary bylaw violations that make the rallies unlawful.

The injunction sought by the city would give police the ability to arrest and remove those who violate the order.

“The city has received numerous complaints from the public regarding the unlawful events,” says the city’s court petition. “The city has issued warnings, bylaw offence notice fines and letters to respondent David Lindsay and CLEAR to discourage the unlawful events.”

“The respondents have failed, neglected and refused to cease the unlawful events.”

Lindsay has organized the “Freedom Rallies” under his CLEAR banner, a brand he launched years prior to the pandemic to peddle pseudolegal strategies for dealing with the legal system.

Lindsay has lost dozens of civil and criminal court cases and has been declared a vexatious litigant in B.C., meaning he cannot initiate a lawsuit without a judge’s permission. He has served prison time for failing to pay taxes.

He is also slated to go to trial in March on a charge of assault in relation to a confrontation during a protest at the Interior Health headquarters in Kelowna. He has not yet to file a court response to the city's petition.

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