Provincial police estimate close to 300 people attended the twin 1 Million March 4 Children protests at Huntsville High School and Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School Wednesday morning.
Locally, Perry and Christy Graham organized the protest while the North Simcoe Muskoka and District Labour Council organized a counter-protest.
In Bracebridge, Provincial Const. Samantha Bigley says no arrests were made.
She says protesters and counter-protesters arrived between 8 and 8:30 a.m., just before students started arriving on school buses. “It was a very busy time,” she adds.
According to Bigley, there with five officers assigned to the event along with two members of the Ontario Provincial Police’s Provincial Liason Team (PLT). She says the PLT was in contact with organizers before the event to figure out what the plan was and to ensure things were kept peaceful.
“It’s a matter that does get a pretty emotional response but, honestly, I didn’t hear any yelling back and forth,” says Bigley. “Overall, they were pretty peaceful.”
She explains the crowd left the school around 11 a.m. and walked towards Stevens’ Your Independent Grocer on Wellington St. where they remained until the protest ended around noon.
Throughout the protest, Bigley says there was a reasonable distance between the two sides.
“I’m glad it went peacefully,” she said.
Like in Bracebridge, Provincial Const. Brett McCulloch says no arrests were made in Huntsville.
Counter-protesters arrived at Huntsville High School around 8 a.m. and stood in front of the Canada Summit Centre. Shortly after 9 a.m., the protesters arrived and stationed themselves around the corner. Around 11 a.m., both groups separately walked towards town hall on Main St. in downtown Huntsville.
The protest also ended shortly after noon.
McCulloch says officers on the scene estimated around 150 people attended the protest. As well, eight constables showed up throughout the morning and were joined by two members of the PLT.
He explains that PLT members are dispatched to support front-line officers during protests and to “encourage peaceful demonstration.”
Other protests with 1 Million March 4 Kids were held throughout Canada against what organizers called “gender ideology” being taught in schools and their opinion that parents deserve to be more involved with what their kids are learning.
In a statement, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario says the province-wide protests are “undermining the rights and dignity” of those who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ and add “there is no place for hate in our province or our hearts.”
With files from Richard Coffin