Tens of thousands of trucks show up in Ottawa, Canada to protest Justin Trudeau’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Supporters from all over Canada have been cheering the rally on since their starting point in Vancouver.
The “Freedom Convoy” started out as a rally against a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers, but has turned into a demonstration against government overreach during the pandemic with a strong anti-vaccination streak.
The main convoys were scheduled to arrive around noon, but already on Friday vehicles blocked the roads in front of parliament and on Saturday morning there were dozens of trucks gathered. A total of some 2,700 trucks are expected, a federal government source said.
Protest organizers have said the rally will be peaceful, and they have vowed to remain in Ottawa until they succeed in overturning the mandates.
Trudeau announced a vaccine mandate for federal workers in October on the eve of the election, and then last month both Canada and the United States imposed one for cross-border truckers.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole opposes vaccine mandates and expressed support for the protest after holding talks with some of the truckers on Friday.
“I support their right to be heard, and I call on Justin Trudeau to meet with these hard-working Canadians to hear their concerns,” O’Toole said after the meeting. “Please protest safely this weekend.”
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, which represents some 4,500 carriers, owner-operators and industry suppliers, opposes the demonstration and has said this is “not how disagreement with government policies should be expressed.”