In the early hours of Sunday morning, Kingston Police broke up a large street party with hundreds of people in attendance. This is despite pandemic restrictions in place that cap outdoor and indoor social gatherings to a maximum of 25 people.
The large gathering appeared to be unexpected for Kingston Police, who had difficulty controlling the crowds until around 2:45am, when the crowds dispersed. Kingston has not seen a gathering similar to this size since March 2020, days after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Witnesses saw people throwing bottles at police officers, and fireworks being set off throughout the night until at least 4am.
The night became especially violent after a fight broke out among two men on the street. According to a reporter on the scene, students said the fight was caused by a male saying “racial, sexist, and homophobic slurs,” and was “asking for a fight.”
Other footage captured a vehicle’s windows being smashed by intoxicated individuals.
The city has responded in various ways to large crowds during the pandemic. Most recently, the city closed Breakwater Park and Queen’s University announced that several students could face penalties under its non-academic misconduct system. Some students living in residence were also evicted.
In the aftermath of the block party, residents called the actions of the partygoers “infuriating.” “This can’t be real. Are people truly this irresponsible?” said one user on Twitter. “Embarrassed for both @queensu and Kingston, and embarrassed to be a @queensualumni,” another user Tweeted.
Kingston Police is expected to release updates on the large street party on Monday. However, they have said that charges may be pending for some individuals. Queen’s University have yet to respond to requests for comment.
As of July 5th, there are four active COVID-19 cases in the region and almost 40 per cent of the population 12 and older is fully vaccinated.