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Videos show gridlock in Ottawa as thousands of truckers camp for days outside the capital to protest vaccine mandate

Supporters arrive at Parliament Hill for the Freedom Truck Convoy to protest against Covid-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions in Ottawa, Canada, on January 29, 2022.

Lars Hagberg/AFP/Getty Images

  • Videos on social media capture the scene as thousands of truckers gathered in Ottawa over the weekend to protest a vaccine mandate.
  • The videos show trucks filling the streets of the capital and crowds of protestors at Parliament Hill.
  • The cross-border vaccine mandate for truckers went into effect in Canada on January 15.

Truckers and Ottawa residents have taken to social media to post videos of the Freedom Convoy — a group of thousands of truckers that gathered to protest the cross-border vaccine mandate.

The truckers have been protesting in Canada’s capitol since Saturday. Canada’s vaccine mandate for truckers went into effect on January 15. The new rules require unvaccinated Canadian truckers to get a COVID-19 test and quarantine when they reenter from the US, while US truckers are required to present proof of vaccination to cross the border. The US imposed a similar mandate on January 22.

Early last week, multiple convoys of truckers began slow-rolling across Canada, headed to Ottawa with plans to meet for a rally on Saturday. One TikTok video shows a birds-eye view of a miles-long line of trucks driving through Brandon, Manitoba on Tuesday.

@gregcrisanti We got ourselves a convoy! #FreedomConvoy rolling through Brandon, Manitoba Canada today! 🇨🇦 🛻 #Ottawa #Canadian #FYP #ForYou ♬ Convoy – Paul Brandt

Another video shows supporters gathering along the Trans-Canada Highway in Saskatchewan on Monday night to support the truckers.

On Saturday, the group held a rally on Parliament Hill in sub-freezing temperatures. Protesters carried signs calling for an end to the vaccine mandate. 

@_freedomboys ##freedom #convoy2022 ##foryoupage #convoy2022 ♬ original sound – Fringminority

One video shows how the trucks filled the streets, creating a gridlock in the capital. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson criticized the protest, saying it made residents “feel they’re prisoners in their own home.” The demonstrators said in a press conference that they intend to stay in the capital and that their aim is to “create chaos” and a “logistics nightmare” for the government.

The police in Ottawa said on Sunday that they’d opened “several criminal investigations” into incidents that occurred during the protests, including “the desecration of the National War Memorial” and “threatening” behavior toward police and cityworkers. But, members of the Freedom Convoy shared videos on the group’s Facebook page of demonstrators picking up trash and chatting with city workers.

B.J. Dichter, one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy, said at the press conference that the group plans to continue protesting in the capital and is in it for “the long haul.”

Some truckers have taken up lodging in nearby fields that the group has outfitted with toilets, as well as tents that provide breakfast and dinner, according to Freedom Convoy’s Facebook page. The group has raised over $9 million for trucker fuel, food, and lodging as of Monday, per Freedom Convoy’s GoFundMe page.

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