A journalist was given a pair of tickets over the long weekend for violating COVID-19 restrictions, one of which was for allegedly shaking hands with a protester.
Efron Monsanto, Rebel News' head of video production, was given the tickets — which totalled $1,440 — by Hamilton, Ontario bylaw officers while covering a small protest against the provincial lockdown on May 23.
Monsanto has been covering the protests held at Hamilton City Hall over the past several weeks, starting with a demonstration held on April 17, organized by independent MPP Randy Hillier's No More Lockdowns movement. Monsanto has continued to cover the rallies since police became physical with the peaceful demonstrators and onlookers.
This past Sunday, as they had previously, a crowd of bylaw and police flooded out of the city hall to dish out tickets to the demonstrators. Among those ticketed was Monsanto, who was, according to bylaw officer Michael Giesbrecht, charged for shaking hands with protesters.
“I have you here in violation of the Reopening Ontario Act, gathering here with more than five people,” Giesbrecht tells Monsanto. Explaining what infraction was worthy of a ticket, the officer says that he saw Monsanto “walking around getting within 2 meters [of the protesters],” before adding that “I also watched you shaking their hands.”
After handing Monsanto a ticket for violating the provincial orders, the bylaw officer then issued a second fine for breaking the City of Hamilton's regulations.
“This is an administrative penalty notice,” Giesbrecht says. “This is for shaking hands with the public.”
“No way,” the astounded Monsanto replies.
The pair of tickets mark the third and fourth fines given to Rebel's Monsanto during his coverage of protests in Hamilton. Stay tuned to Rebel News in the days ahead, as a full video report on what happened during this demonstration is in production.
Rebel News will continue to bring coverage on the ground from these events, despite receiving numerous tickets for doing so. To support our work and to see more of our coverage, visit www.LockdownReports.com.