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‘Freedom Convoy’ protest continues to grow in Canada

Truck drivers are still fuming over new travel rules on vaccines and testing

by: Isti Miskolczy

Coming up to being two weeks long, the “Freedom Convoy” protest in Canada seems to be only expanding. Originally started as a march by hundreds of truck drivers opposing the new Covid-19 vaccine mandates of the country, the protest has evolved into thousands blocking traffic in the country’s capital city Ottawa and several border crossing stations along the US-Canadian border.

Truck drivers are protesting against Canada’s latest Covid-19 restrictions announced on the 15th of January. These would require them to either be fully vaccinated or undertake compulsory testing and two weeks of isolation upon entering the country. They were reportedly joined by others - including cowboys - not from the cargo industry, who just want everything to be ‘normal’ again.

Photo courtesy of ottawagraphics via Pixabay

“These protesters have been holding our city hostage,” tweeted Ottawa’s mayor, Jim Watson, who also successfully liaised with the popular community fundraising page ‘GoFundMe’ to disable funds directed to the convoy organizers.

On the contrary, Kevin Vaugh, a Conservative MP in Canada praised the “patriotic truckers who have kept our supply chains healthy” and visited the protesters to show his appreciation.

In Ottawa, the protesters are blocking Parliament Hill (home to the Parliament of Canada) and several streets while one of the busiest border crossing and trading points between Canada and the US on the road between Windsor and Detroit is also occupied.

Even though the entire police force of Ottawa consists of 1200 officers, and they have already been supplemented by neighboring colleagues, according to mayor Jim Watson at least 1800 more officers would be needed to halt the demonstrations.

Apart from requesting more support, the mayor also declared a state of emergency.

“We will make sure the city has the resources they need,” responded Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. He also condemned the Freedom Convoy by stating that “the blockades in Windsor and Ottawa are endangering jobs, impeding trade, threatening the economy, and obstructing our communities”.

Photo courtesy of ottawagraphics via Pixabay

As for communities, some protesters even harassed and assaulted the workers of a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Ottawa for food. The Shepherds of Good Hope also had to face trucks parking in their ambulance drop-off zone.

While the situation is most concerning in the capital and along the borders, truck convoys were also formed in Alberta, Manitoba, and British Columbia which clearly signals that a solution is yet to be achieved.


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