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Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ of up to 50,000 truckers arrives in Ottawa ahead of a weekend of protests

A huge convoy of Canadian truck drivers arrived in Ottawa on Friday night ahead of a planned protest at the weekend against vaccine mandates for drivers.

Since January 15, all Canadian truck drivers who are unvaccinated must take a COVID-19 test and quarantine when driving back from the United States.

They are not allowed into the U.S. unless they are vaccinated, and American drivers are not allowed into Canada unless they show their certificate.

American drivers returning to the U.S., however, do not need to take a test and quarantine.

Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, has dismissed the protest from the truckers as a disgruntled few, pointing out that almost 90 percent of his country is vaccinated.

Yet the drivers in the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ are angry at his mandate, and plan this weekend on showing the strength of their sentiment in the Canadian capital at the end of a 2,000 mile protest rally.  

Canadian truck drivers are seen in Ottawa on Friday ahead of a planned weekend of protest against COVID-19 vaccine rules

The convoy - at times comprising of 50,000 vehicles, organizers said - is seen on Friday beginning to arrive in Ottawa

The convoy – at times comprising of 50,000 vehicles, organizers said – is seen on Friday beginning to arrive in Ottawa

A truck driver flying the Canadian flag is seen driving into the capital on Friday

A truck driver flying the Canadian flag is seen driving into the capital on Friday

A vehicle from the convoy is seen on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

A vehicle from the convoy is seen on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday

Ottawa's residents are bracing themselves for a weekend of snarled traffic as the truckers arrive

Ottawa’s residents are bracing themselves for a weekend of snarled traffic as the truckers arrive

Truckers demanding that Canada remain 'glorious and free' arrive in Ottawa on Friday

Truckers demanding that Canada remain ‘glorious and free’ arrive in Ottawa on Friday

The convoy assembled in British Columbia on Sunday, and were joined by other protesters driving from the east and the south of the country. 

Truckers from the US – who are only allowed into Canada if they are vaccinated – have also joined the massive convoy.

Canadian Trucking Magazine publisher Dave Mackenzie, who is a working long-haul trucker, told West Standard Online that some U.S. truckers were driving from North Dakota to Portal Saskatchewan, where they intend to cross the border and join the group.  

Some of the group’s leaders are calling for a peaceful event, but statements from some associated with the group have included threats of violence.  

Ottawa police said they would be out in force and ready to arrest anyone who breaks the law. 

They said on Friday that they have also called in ‘reinforcements’. 

A top Parliament official warned lawmakers to avoid the protest and to lock their doors amid reports their private homes may be targeted. 

‘It’s 70 kilometers long,’ Benjamin Dichter, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy 2022, told the Toronto Sun after it passed Calgary heading west on Wednesday. 

‘I have seen footage from an airplane. It’s impressive.’   

Elon Musk also tweeted praise for the truckers, saying: ‘If you scare people enough, they will demand removal of freedom. This is the path to tyranny.’

He’d earlier tweeted that ‘Canadian truckers rule’. 

In September 2020, the Tesla CEO said that he and his family would not be getting vaccinated because they are not at risk.    

As many as 32,000, or 20 percent, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads due to the mandate, the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) estimates.  

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Hundreds of Canadians have lined the TransCanada Highway 20 to cheer on a 45-mile-long convoy of up to 50,000 truckers who are heading to Ottawa to protest the government's covid vaccine mandate for drivers crossing the US-Canada border

Hundreds of Canadians have lined the TransCanada Highway 20 to cheer on a 45-mile-long convoy of up to 50,000 truckers who are heading to Ottawa to protest the government’s covid vaccine mandate for drivers crossing the US-Canada border

The convoy assembled in British Columbia on Sunday, and are seen on January 28 being cheered on in Levis, Quebec by supporters

The convoy assembled in British Columbia on Sunday, and are seen on January 28 being cheered on in Levis, Quebec by supporters

50,000 truckers are making their way across Canada in a 45-mile-long convoy in protest of vaccine mandates that now prohibit truckers from crossing the US-Canadian border without proof of vaccination

50,000 truckers are making their way across Canada in a 45-mile-long convoy in protest of vaccine mandates that now prohibit truckers from crossing the US-Canadian border without proof of vaccination

Canadians standing on an overpass in Kingston, Ontario cheer the truck drivers on. One pickup truck is seen pulling a trailer with a sign saying: 'Freedom doesn't require permission'

Canadians standing on an overpass in Kingston, Ontario cheer the truck drivers on. One pickup truck is seen pulling a trailer with a sign saying: ‘Freedom doesn’t require permission’

A driver gets his pickup truck, with a sign saying 'Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee Freedom', ready for the convoy line in Kingston, Ontario on Friday

A driver gets his pickup truck, with a sign saying ‘Oh Canada we stand on guard for thee Freedom’, ready for the convoy line in Kingston, Ontario on Friday

50,000 truckers are making their way across Canada in a 45-mile-long convoy in protest of vaccine mandates that would prohibit truckers from crossing the US-Canadian border without proof of vaccination

50,000 truckers are making their way across Canada in a 45-mile-long convoy in protest of vaccine mandates that would prohibit truckers from crossing the US-Canadian border without proof of vaccination

Canadians gather on a bridge over Highway 400 in Vaughan, Ontario, to support the Freedom Convoy

Canadians gather on a bridge over Highway 400 in Vaughan, Ontario, to support the Freedom Convoy

Pickup trucks with Canadian flags and 'freedom' signs get ready to join the convoy in Kingston on Friday

Pickup trucks with Canadian flags and ‘freedom’ signs get ready to join the convoy in Kingston on Friday

Truckers left from British Columbia on Sunday and will be met in the nation's capital on Saturday by other protesters driving from the east and the south of the country. The convoy has been joined by US truckers

 Truckers left from British Columbia on Sunday and will be met in the nation’s capital on Saturday by other protesters driving from the east and the south of the country. The convoy has been joined by US truckers

The Toronto Sun estimated that up to 50,000 trucks could be participating - this convoy could exceed the existing record for the world's longest by 10 times if it stays intact until its intended destination

The Toronto Sun estimated that up to 50,000 trucks could be participating – this convoy could exceed the existing record for the world’s longest by 10 times if it stays intact until its intended destination

'It's 70 kilometers long,' Benjamin Dichter, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy 2022, told the Toronto Sun. 'I have seen footage from an airplane. It's impressive'

‘It’s 70 kilometers long,’ Benjamin Dichter, a spokesman for the Freedom Convoy 2022, told the Toronto Sun. ‘I have seen footage from an airplane. It’s impressive’

In a list of demands, the organizers of the Freedom Convoy are calling for an end to vaccine passports and for the federal government to respect the rights of the unvaccinated

In a list of demands, the organizers of the Freedom Convoy are calling for an end to vaccine passports and for the federal government to respect the rights of the unvaccinated

Hutterites have shown out in numbers not just greet the truckers with signs as they drive by, but to keep them fed

Hutterites have shown out in numbers not just greet the truckers with signs as they drive by, but to keep them fed

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (pictured) has characterized the protesters as a 'small fringe minority who are on the way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views'

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (pictured) has characterized the protesters as a ‘small fringe minority who are on the way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views’

The convoy has picked up steam and supporters as it traveled along the snow-filled TransCanada Highway.

The longest convoy in history was just five miles long, consisted of 480 trucks, and took place in Egypt in 2020, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. 

The Toronto Sun estimated that up to 50,000 trucks could be participating – which would exceed the existing record by 10 times if it stays intact until its intended destination. 

The convoy is not considered a record, however, because it has not been strictly monitored to comply with the Guinness World Records criteria. 

In a list of demands, the organizers of the Freedom Convoy are calling for an end to vaccine passports and for the federal government to respect the rights of the unvaccinated.  

Trudeau hit the brakes on their demands. 

‘What we are hearing from some people associated with this convoy is completely unacceptable,’ he said.

‘We know the way through this pandemic is to get everyone vaccinated. 

‘The overwhelming majority, close to 90 percent of Canadians, have done exactly that.’ 

'A lot of people are trying to say that these type of things are done out of anger, but this is actually being done out of frustration towards the things the government is imposing upon Canadian citizens,' a man named Trevor told Global News when the convoy passed through the Balgonie area, declining to give his surname

 ‘A lot of people are trying to say that these type of things are done out of anger, but this is actually being done out of frustration towards the things the government is imposing upon Canadian citizens,’ a man named Trevor told Global News when the convoy passed through the Balgonie area, declining to give his surname

The Freedom Convoy left from Vancouver to Ottawa on Sunday in protest. They intend to hold a protest in Ottawa upon arriving on January 29

The Freedom Convoy left from Vancouver to Ottawa on Sunday in protest. They intend to hold a protest in Ottawa upon arriving on January 29

A GoFundMe initiative has already raised $6,365,040 towards the protest since it was launched on January 14, with organizers saying that the money will go toward the gas, food and shelter of the participating truckers

A GoFundMe initiative has already raised $6,365,040 towards the protest since it was launched on January 14, with organizers saying that the money will go toward the gas, food and shelter of the participating truckers

But supporters of the convoy disagree, with one driver saying that ‘the amount of trucks involved and the amount of people showing up here, this shows the frustrations of Canadians and it’s going to continue to grow.’   

‘A lot of people are trying to say that these type of things are done out of anger, but this is actually being done out of frustration towards the things the government is imposing upon Canadian citizens,’ a man named Trevor told Global News when the convoy passed through the Balgonie area, declining to give his surname. 

The Canadian government ended the truckers’ exemption to the vaccine mandate, meaning Canadian truck drivers need to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a two-week quarantine and pre-arrival molecular test for COVID-19 before crossing into Canada.

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated foreign national truck drivers who do not have a right to re-enter are turned away at the border and directed back to the United States. 

The U.S. now also requires Canadian truckers to provide proof of vaccination to enter.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance has disavowed the protest and said more than 85 percent of truckers are vaccinated. 

Many truckers have also posted on social media they continue to do their jobs and that the convoy does not speak for them.  

Canada has enacted some of the most strict COVID-19 protocols worldwide. 

Ontario will only closed its restaurants, gyms and movie theaters early this month, and will only reopen them at the beginning of February. 

Vaccinations were mandated in for federal workers last year, and the premier of Quebec announced plans to penalize unvaccinated residents that don’t have a medical reason not to get the shot.  

On Thursday night, Elon Musk tweeted: 'If you scare people enough, they will demand removal of freedom. This is the path to tyranny'

On Thursday night, Elon Musk tweeted: ‘If you scare people enough, they will demand removal of freedom. This is the path to tyranny’

He also praised the protesters, tweeting on Thursday that 'Canadian truckers rule'

He also praised the protesters, tweeting on Thursday that ‘Canadian truckers rule’

Musk stated in September of 2020 that he and his family would not be getting vaccinated because they are not at risk, and said he most likely had a mild case of the virus in November

Musk stated in September of 2020 that he and his family would not be getting vaccinated because they are not at risk, and said he most likely had a mild case of the virus in November

The Freedom Convoy left from Vancouver to Ottawa on Sunday in protest. They intend to hold a protest in Ottawa upon arriving on January 29

The Freedom Convoy left from Vancouver to Ottawa on Sunday in protest. They intend to hold a protest in Ottawa upon arriving on January 29

Canada has enacted some of the most strict COVID-19 protocols worldwide. Ontario will only closed its restaurants, gyms and movie theaters early this month, and will only reopen them at the beginning of February

Canada has enacted some of the most strict COVID-19 protocols worldwide. Ontario will only closed its restaurants, gyms and movie theaters early this month, and will only reopen them at the beginning of February


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