Man, woman charged after anti-vaccination protest at Eaton Centre: Toronto police

Security guards try to hold back anti-vaccination protesters from entering the Eaton Centre on Saturday. (Twitter/@Carymarules)

Two people arrested at an anti-vaccination protest at the Eaton Centre on Saturday have been charged with assault, Toronto police say.

According to investigators, a large group of anti-vaccination protesters arrived at the Eaton Centre on Saturday and attempted to enter the mall.

Police say the protesters were denied access by uniformed security staff and at one point, a security guard was assaulted.

No injuries to protesters or security staff were reported.

Police say Michael Leaf, a 29-year-old Thornhill resident, and Vanessa Carvalho, a 23-year-old Brampton woman, have each been charged with one count of assault.

They are scheduled to appear at the Old City Hall courthouse on Dec. 15 at 11 a.m.

Caryma Sa’d, who was at the protest to capture footage of what was taking place, said the incident began as a rally at Yonge-Dundas Square.

“At the end of sort of the main speaker’s portion of the rally, people kind of dispersed. And I started hearing yelling coming from behind me,” she told CP24 on Sunday, adding that she could hear people encouraging protesters to “band together” in non-compliance.

In video footage of the protest, people could be seen shoving security guards and police in an attempt to enter the downtown shopping mall.

“There was violence on the part of the crowd,” S’ad said.

“I would say mall security really did its best to hold the people back and police were there, but whatever the rationale was for not being strong on enforcement, the reality is they really didn’t do much to hold people back.”

Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact 52 Division or Crime Stoppers anonymously.

Source: CTV, September 26, 2021.

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