A day after Peterborough’s medical officer of health Dr. Thomas Piggott called out “threatening antivaxxers” on Twitter for protesting outside of the health unit’s offices in downtown Peterborough, a small group of them showed up in front of his East City home on Saturday afternoon (January 15).
Several of Dr. Piggott’s neighbours contacted kawarthaNOW about the protest, which initially saw 20 to 30 people gather on the sidewalk in a residential neighbourhood while carrying signs reading “Giving Experimental Drugs to Children is Child Abuse” and “Think Bio-Weapon” among others. The crowd eventually dwindled to around 15 people.
Photos posted on social media by one of the protestors show signs reading “You didn’t like our protest at PPH so … here we are!” and “Hands off our kids Piggott!” The signs appear to have been placed on the porch of Dr. Piggott’s home, but kawarthaNOW cannot confirm this is the case.
At least one resident of the usually quiet neighbourhood told kawarthaNOW they called the police. Another resident told kawarthaNOW three police cars arrived at the scene before the protestors eventually dispersed.
It is also unknown where Dr. Piggott and his family were home at the time of the protest, and if any of the protestors were ticketed, but a number of police officers remained on the scene after the protestors left.
On Saturday evening, Dr. Piggott posted on Twitter that he and his family are “fine” and apologized to his neighbours, “many of whom I haven’t even had the pleasure to meet yet,” before concluding with “Spread more love not COVID.”
Thank you everyone for the kind words & ? – we are all fine.
I'm deeply sorry to my #ptbo neighbours, many of whom I haven't even had the pleasure to meet yet, who had to endure that.
Spread more love not COVID.
— Dr Thomas Piggott (He/Him) (@twpiggott) January 16, 2022
Earlier on Saturday evening, Peterborough-Kawartha MP Michelle Ferreri also posted on Twitter about the protest:
“I have just been informed of protests being held in front of the home of Peterborough’s Medical Officer of Health,” she wrote. “I want to be clear, I condemn this behaviour. When protests turn into personal attacks on our public health workers, a line must be drawn.”
“I urge my constituents to exercise your rights peacefully; void of harassment and intimidation. Leave the home out of it. Period. We must continue to stand firm in our shared support of Peterborough’s public health care workers in order to ensure their safety at home.”
2/2 I urge my constituents to exercise your rights peacefully; void of harassment and intimidation. Leave the home out of it. Period. We must continue to stand firm in our shared support of Peterborough’s public health care workers in order to ensure their safety at home.
— Michelle Ferreri (@mferreriptbokaw) January 15, 2022
The protest in front of Dr. Piggott’s home appears to be a reaction to comments he made on Twitter on Friday afternoon (January 14), while a group of around 25 people were protesting in from of Peterborough Public Health on King Street.
Dr. Piggott wrote that “instead of focusing on protecting the public’s health and responding to this pandemic my [Peterborough Public Health] team and I are ensuring our staff and building is safe from the threatening antivaxxers protesting out front.”
He also wrote, “Enough already. Everyone has the right to expressing their beliefs, no matter how wrong they may be. But not at our expense. Healthcare workers and public health need protection and can’t be the site of these terrorizing demonstrations.”
Gotta love Friday's where instead of focusing on protecting the public's health and responding to this pandemic my @Ptbohealth team and I are ensuring our staff and building is safe from the threatening antivaxxers protesting out front.
— Dr Thomas Piggott (He/Him) (@twpiggott) January 14, 2022
This story has been updated with additional information about the number of protestors, Dr. Piggott’s reaction on Twitter to the protest, and MP Michelle Ferreri’s reaction on Twitter to the protest.