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Our residents have every right to come to city hall and find us there, not intimidated and scared off by protestors: Councillor Linda Annis 

Surrey, B.C. (February 27, 2024): Surrey First Councillor Linda Annis says she will not support switching city council meetings to virtual sessions in the face of continuing pro-Palestinian protests at Surrey City Hall.

“Last night a staff report floated the idea that we should switch all of our 2024 city council meetings to virtual as a way to get around the repeated pro-Palestinian protests that have taken place over the past few weeks,” said Annis. “I will not support a move to virtual meetings because our residents have every right to see us at work in-person, and I don’t believe in being intimidated.”

Annis said Surrey City Hall belongs to everyone in the community, and protestors have no right to continuously close it, or force city council into a situation where they are afraid for public safety. 

“Protesting is a right, but continually disrupting the business of our community, or being so disruptive that public safety at risk, is just not on. Being intimidated into switching to virtual meetings because of the bad behaviour of protestors diminishes our democracy and the right of our citizens to meet at city hall and carry out the business of our community.”

Annis, who chaired last night’s city council meeting because Mayor Locke was not in attendance, said the proposal to go to virtual meetings for the rest of the year was put off until the next council meeting when the mayor is back as chair.

“I support giving our residents the option of appearing at city council meetings in person or virtually, but I think it is important that our mayor and our councillors are together in person on council nights, and we should not allow protestors to change that fundamental part of our democracy,” added Annis. “The right to protest is an important part of who we are as Canadians, but no one has the right to intimidate or stop city council from listening to its residents or getting on with the business of our city.”