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Protester spat at Nanaimo nurse outside hospital, RCMP say

A nurse heading to work was spat at during a protest Wednesday, Nanaimo RCMP say. The woman told police the man was participating in an anti-­vaccine-card rally outside Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Const. Gary O’Brien said.
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Protesters gathered near Nanaimo Regional General Hospital on Wednesday afternoon. Via Nanaimo RCMP

A nurse heading to work was spat at during a protest Wednesday, Nanaimo RCMP say.

The woman told police the man was participating in an anti-­vaccine-card rally outside Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, Const. Gary O’Brien said.

The protester spit in the direction of the woman but it did not reach her.

O’Brien said the nurse did not want to pursue charges and reported a description of the man and what happened for information only.

Kathy MacNeil, president and CEO of the Island Health, said Wednesday that some workers at health-care facilities were verbally abused as they came to and from work, and at least one staff member was physically assaulted.

The event in Nanaimo, one of several held around B.C., attracted an estimated 300 people. Similar protests were held at Cowichan District Hospital in Duncan and in Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna. In Victoria, a rally outside the B.C. legislature drew hundreds of people.

Participants rallied against a variety of things, including vaccine passports, vaccines, the government and health care authorities. They held signs calling for an end to vaccine passports, with some carrying blown-up copies of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Starting Sept. 13, British Columbians 12 years and older will need to provide proof of at least one dose of vaccine to enter non-essential businesses and events — such as sports competitions, nightclubs, restaurants and movies. As of Oct. 24, only fully vaccinated people will be permitted entry.

On Thursday night, the legislature was lit up in pink in support of health-care workers as “a gesture of gratitude for all that they have done and continue to do during the #COVID19 pandemic, in the face of many challenges,” according to the B.C. Legislature Twitter account.

City halls in several B.C. municipalities, including Esquimalt and Vancouver, planned to do the same.