In the spaces where strict COVID-19 mandates remain, anti-mandate protesters remain.
At Wilfrid Laurier University — one of five universities in Ontario where masks are still mandatory — some students are gearing up for an anti-mandate protest at the end of the month at Waterloo Town Square.
The demonstration is being planned by Kamil Bachouchi, a fourth-year philosophy student at Laurier whose posts have gone viral for wearing nonstandard masks to class — he has worn a scuba mask, a piece of romaine lettuce and a garbage bin in lieu of a standard medical mask.
He rotates through about nine different “mask” options, which also includes a Soviet-era gas mask and a full hazardous materials suit.
Photos of him attending lectures in his getups have been shared thousands of times on social media and have built the Laurier student a large following on Twitter.
His controversial protest has earned him praise but also criticism for antics some call “attention-seeking” and “outright dangerous.”
Bachouchi, a self-described libertarian, is a member of Students Against Mandates, a group based in Manitoba that runs mandate-related protests across the country and is taking legal action against the University of Manitoba over its mandatory vaccination policy.
Bachouchi missed all last year’s academic school year after he refused to report his vaccination status. He returned in September after the lifting of the vaccination requirement, but like other students has had to follow Laurier’s mandatory mask policy.
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