Freedom Convoy Protests

Freedom+Convoy+Protests

Ian Dahl, Contributor

In an attempt to protest against the Canadian government, thousands of truckers have formed a “Freedom Convoy” across major Canadian highways. The protests aim for the end of vaccine mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic enforced by the Canadian government on citizens and specifically truck drivers. The Freedom Convoy’s main goal is to oppose the COVID-19 vaccination requirements for truck drivers to reenter the country and to oppose the recent mandates and laws relating to COVID-19 by Justin Trudeau, the current prime minister of Canada. 

The first protest convoy departed on January 22, 2022, with truckers from various cities gathering on Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, with the intention of meeting with other convoys from across the country and heading towards Ottawa, the capital of Canada. From January 22 to January 28, various convoys from different parts of the country gathered together and they began their travel to the capital on January 29, 2022. Upon the convoys’ arrival to Ottawa, thousands of truck drivers began protesting at the capital.

On the first day of the truck drivers’ arrival, many of them began protesting and performing actions that could be seen as disrespectful and offensive. Some of the protesters began drinking and partying at the National War Memorial, on top of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a war memorial commemorating the soldiers that have died in wars and were not able to return home. Additionally, the statue of Terry Fox, a famous cancer research activist and athlete, was defaced and vandalized by the protesters, although the statue was later cleaned up and restored in the future by a different group of protesters. A Globe and Mail article, a popular Canadian newspaper, described Canadian officials’ reaction to the protests, “Officials condemn ‘desecration’ of monuments, hateful signs on display at trucker convoy protest.” Many Canadian officials have expressed their opinion on the protests, many of them in opposition to the protests while some of them support the message behind them. The police began to warn and condemn the protesters’ illegal actions, while some protesters’ “high-risk situations” were de-escalated by members of the police force, yet no arrests were made at the time. However, on February 6th, the police announced that they would be increasing their enforcement of the protestors and would begin arresting those who brought supplies to the protesters and passing out tickets to those participating in the protests. On the same day, the Canadian government declared a state of emergency in the capital of Ottawa, their declaration of emergency “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government”. 

 

Sources:

https://www.therecord.com/news/waterloo-region/2022/01/27/freedom-rally-to-roll-through-waterloo-region-thursday-morning.html

https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/defence-chief-criticizes-protesters-for-dancing-on-national-war-memorial

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-truck-freedom-convoy-ottawa-live-update/

https://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/second-day-of-protests-seize-ottawa-police-investigating-desecration-incidents-1.5760424

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/10/us-canada-freedom-convoy-super-bowl