Vancouver man claims police were more concerned about antimaskers' sign than his personal safety

Jason Blackman videotaped what happened when he walked through their gathering at Sunset Beach

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      Anyone who stages certain types of events in a Vancouver park is required to follow a series of rules.

      Applications must be made four months in advance. Fees must be paid prior to when it's held.

      The operation of amplified music is prohibited. Signage, banners, or advertisements are also banned.

      Permits are required for a fairly long list of events and activities, including celebrations.

      Organizers must comply with the noise control bylaw. Anyone having amplified sound on-site, including speeches, is required to include information about this in their permit application.

      But when Vancouver resident Jason Blackman visited Sunset Beach to film an unlicensed gathering of antimask activists that included speeches and amplified music, a police officer didn't know about the permit requirements.

      Blackman, a former Squamish city councillor, had his camera phone on as he walked across the antimaskers' sign in the field.

      That enraged the antimaskers, who surrounded him. One of them knocked Blackman's phone out of his hand. Blackman alleged he was assaulted.

      When a police officer arrived on the scene, Blackman said that the sergeant appeared to be more concerned about the well-being of the sign than his personal safety.

      Blackman added in his Twitter thread that the "most egregious part" was that hundreds of people were breaking a public health order by gathering in groups of 15 or 20 at Sunset Beach. Moreover, they did this with impunity.

      Park board issued COVID-19 update

      In Kelowna, the RCMP has fined organizers of antimask gatherings that violate the public health order.

      Vancouver police, on the other hand, have repeatedly observed antimask demonstrations that violate a provincial public health order without issuing fines to organizers.

      On February 4, the park board included a COVID-19 update on its webpage concerning organizing events in parks.

      "Special event permitting offices are reviewing applications to ensure compliance with health orders that the Provincial Health Officer has put into place for events and gatherings," the park board stated. "Compliance with current orders is a mandatory requirement for a permit to be issued.

      "This includes indoor and outdoor sporting events, conferences, meetings, concerts, religious gatherings, or other similar events. Guidance is changing often. Please check the Province's website for the latest information. Review the Provincial order on mass gathering events."

      The incident involving Blackman occurred on the same day that the Straight posted a commentary asking whose side the Vancouver police are really on when it comes to these antimask gatherings and protests.

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