Researchers claim that Black Lives Matter protests in the US did not lead to a spike in coronavirus cases. Thousands participated in the protests and did not adhere to public health guidelines. 

The study which was published by the National Bureau of Economic Research employed data from over 300 of the largest protests in the US. 

“Our findings suggest that any direct decrease in social distancing among the subset of the population participating in the protests is more than offset by increasing social distancing behaviour among others who may choose to shelter-at-home and circumvent public places while the protests are underway,” claimed the report. 

Prior to the anti-racism movement which swept across the world after Minnesota resident George Floyd died while in police custody, Canadian politicians were condemning people for gathering in parks and joining anti-lockdown protests. 

In April, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called anti-lockdown protesters exercising their fundamental freedoms “a bunch of yahoos” and claimed that they were endangering others because of their behaviour. 

“These people that are absolutely irresponsible, it’s reckless to do what they’re doing. Personally, I think it’s selfish,” said Ford. 

Meanwhile, as anti-racism protests raged in Toronto and elsewhere, Ford took a totally different tone to those who gathered in massive crowds. 

Toronto Mayor John Tory also joined Ford in commending the protesters who congregated for the anti-racism rally, saying that he would join the protesters and kneel if asked to

“The message from those protesters is we simply have to involve every person and every effort to wipe out anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, racism and discrimination of any kind in this city, and make it the most inclusive city in the world,” said Tory. 

“I haven’t ruled out attending and I certainly would be quite prepared to take a knee.”

During another instance at Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, Ford also condemned those who gathered outside to enjoy the weather. 

“First of all, I’m disappointed to say the least with everyone who showed up at Trinity Bellwoods on Saturday,” said Ford. 

“Why don’t you do us all a favour and go get tested now, go to a local hospital or assessment centre and get tested.”

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