Trucker convoy - live: Drivers in Canada threatened with arrest as Rogan and Musk celebrate mandate ‘revolt’

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Supporters of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ of truckers driving from British Columbia to Ottawa in protest against a Covid-19 vaccine mandate gather near a highway overpass outside of Toronto, Ontario (Cole Burston/AFP/Getty)
Supporters of the ‘Freedom Convoy’ of truckers driving from British Columbia to Ottawa in protest against a Covid-19 vaccine mandate gather near a highway overpass outside of Toronto, Ontario (Cole Burston/AFP/Getty)

A convoy of truckers opposed to Covid-19 vaccine mandates made its way through southwestern Ontario on Thursday, as it continues its snaking journey through the heart of Canada.

The protest is being organized by Canada Unity, a group that opposes Covid-related measures.

Its leaders want prime minister Justin Trudeau and his government to drop the vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the Canada-US border and do away with other public health protections.

The Canadian federal government instituted vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers throughout the country. But as many as 32,000, or 20 per cent, of the 160,000 Canadian and American cross-border truck drivers may be taken off the roads due to the mandate, according to the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA).

Some high-profile vaccine-sceptics, such as Elon Musk and Joe Rogan, have praised the protesting truckers. Mr Rogan stated that Canada is “in revolt”, with the Toronto Sun claiming that up to 50,000 truckers will end up completing the journey to the capital.

By contrast, Prime Minister Trudeau has characterised the protesters as a “small fringe minority who are on the way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views.”

Key Points

Many protest supporters are donating under false names, report says

00:30 , Nathan Place

According to a CTV analysis, many people who donated to a GoFundMe for today’s protests did so under false names – including those of Justin Trudeau and his wife.

Ottawa closes bridge due to protests

00:00 , Nathan Place

Ottawa officials have closed another major thoroughfare as the protests continue, this time the Alexandra Bridge.

“Alexandra Bridge closed - demonstration,” the City of Ottawa tweeted. “OPS directing traffic. Duration unknown.”

Why are Canadian truckers protesting in Ottawa?

Friday 28 January 2022 23:30 , Nathan Place

Here’s a look at what Canadian truckers are protesting, what they plan to do this weekend, and why:

Why Canadian truckers are driving cross-country to protest vaccine mandates

Here’s what Justin Trudeau has said about the protests

Friday 28 January 2022 23:00 , Nathan Place

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has called the truckers protesting in Ottawa a “fringe minority” with “unacceptable views.” Protesters have reacted to those words with a mix of outrage and glee, with some sarcastically throwing the phrases back at Mr Trudeau on social media.

As the demonstration continues, here’s a closer look at what Mr Trudeau said:

Trudeau blasts ‘fringe minority’ behind trucking protest convoy

Police repeat warning that violence will be punished

Friday 28 January 2022 22:34 , Nathan Place

As the protest in Ottawa continues, police have repeated their warning that violent demonstrators will be prosecuted.

“We welcome peaceful demonstrations,” the Ottawa Police Service tweeted on Friday evening. “Public safety is paramount – there will be consequences for persons engaging in criminal conduct, violence and/or activities promoting hate.”

‘Freedom’ honks continue outside Canadian Parliament

Friday 28 January 2022 22:16 , Nathan Place

As truckers in Ottawa continue to protest for “freedom,” they’ve made it clear that freedom is very, very loud.

Honking protesters fill Ottawa with deafening noise

Friday 28 January 2022 21:54 , Nathan Place

Ottawa became one of the noisiest places on earth on Friday as an entire protest of truckers honked their horns.

Police chief warns violent protesters will be arrested

Friday 28 January 2022 21:41 , Nathan Place

Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly warned on Friday that any protester who turns violent will arrested and prosecuted.

“Let me be very clear: we are prepared to investigate, arrest if necessary, charge and prosecute anyone who acts violently or breaks the law in the demonstrations, or in association with the demonstrations,” Mr Sloly said.

The police chief has also said, however, that so far the protests have remained “peaceful and uneventful.”

Ottawa closes street due to protests

Friday 28 January 2022 21:05 , Nathan Place

Ottawa officials have closed down a large stretch of Metcalfe Street, which ends at Canada’s parliament, due to the ongoing protests.

“Metcalfe closed between Queen and Wellington - demonstration,” the City of Ottawa warned residents in a tweet. “OPS directing traffic. Duration unknown. Avoid area and use other routes.”

Hundreds cheer as trucks drive past Parliament

Friday 28 January 2022 20:40 , Nathan Place

Hundreds of cheering supporters lined the streets as trucks drove past Canada’s parliament, protesting the country’s vaccine mandates.

Huge area of downtown Ottawa impacted by protests, city warns

Friday 28 January 2022 20:20 , Nathan Place

Ottawa officials warned residents on Friday that a large area of the city, about 13 blocks in diameter, will be “impacted” by demonstrations.

“Heads up, #OttCity,” the City of Ottawa tweeted. “Demonstrations are beginning in Ottawa today and several streets in the downtown core & surrounding area will be impacted.”

Ottawa police chief calls protests ‘peaceful and uneventful’

Friday 28 January 2022 20:00 , Nathan Place

Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly says the trucker protests have been “peaceful and uneventful” so far, but police are carefully monitoring the situation.

“As you all know, there is a major demonstration taking place over the next several days here in the nation’s capital,” Mr Sloly said at a briefing on Friday. “In fact, demonstrators have already started to arrive, and our officers have been managing a series of small demonstrations in the city core over the last 24 hours. So far they have been peaceful and uneventful.”

Mr Sloly added that the protests are expected to continue through the weekend and possibly into next week.

More trucks roll onto Parliament Hill as protesters cheer

Friday 28 January 2022 19:40 , Nathan Place

More protest trucks are rolling into Parliament Hill, Ottawa, honking noisily as crowds cheer them on.

Demonstrators welcoming the vehicles waved Canadian flags and protest signs, bearing messages like “There must be choice” and “Truck off Trudeau.”

Trucks begin arriving in Ottawa

Friday 28 January 2022 19:21 , Nathan Place

Protesters’ trucks have begun arriving outside Canada’s parliament in Ottawa, videos from local journalists show. Crowds cheered the vehicles as they rolled in.

Crowd greets trucker convoy in Quebec on Friday morning

Friday 28 January 2022 19:00 , Thomas Fenton

A large crowd lined the sides of the road to welcome the trucker convoy in Quebec on Friday morning, as it continued onto Ottawa.

While local police suggested that the number of vehicles in the convoy is far less than early reports indicated, the crowd that met the trucks just outside of Quebec looked to be strong.

#Quebec loves #freedom!!! The east coast trucker convoy was greeted warmly this morning in Quebec!” one supporter tweeted out, along with a video showing some of the crowd by the roadside cheering the drivers on.

Freedom Convoy spokesperson claims vaccine passports are “really concerning"

Friday 28 January 2022 18:30 , Thomas Fenton

Tucker Carlson’s interview with ‘Freedom Convoy’ spokesperson Ben Dichter on Fox News saw him reveal that the group has dual objectives. While its opposition to vaccine mandates is well documented, Mr Dichter also explained how vaccine passports are the “really concerning” development in Canada.

“We want to get rid of the vaccine mandates and the (vaccine) passports. And that passport, that’s the really concerning one,” the controversial spokesperson stated on Fox News last night.

Mr Dichter also repeated the unsubstantiated claim that the Canadian border patrol has access to people’s phones and can track truckers to ensure they all have the vaccine.

Kingston Police register just 121 trucks in convoy - disputing 50,000 claim

Friday 28 January 2022 18:00 , Thomas Fenton

The official Twitter account of Kingston Police in Ottawa provided a truck convoy update at midday on Friday, claiming that just 121 trucks were present.

According to the department’s account, it registered 121 trucks, 421 passenger vehicles, and six RVs.

“As of 9:35 am all roads have reopened and all trucks and passenger vehicles have departed #ygk and are now EB on Hwy 401,” they added, indicating that the smaller than expected convoy is once again on the move.

Some reports previously suggested that up to 50,000 trucks were involved in the protest against vaccine mandates, but that figure has since been disputed by local police.

Global News also quoted from various police sources, who counted no more than 230 trucks, and 725 “personal vehicles”.

Explainer: Why Canadian truckers are driving cross-country to protest vaccine mandates

Friday 28 January 2022 17:23 , Thomas Fenton

A group of Canadian long-haul truck drivers are travelling cross-country from British Columbia to Ottawa as part of a “Freedom Convoy” to protest the imposition of Covid-19 vaccine requirements upon their industry.

Until Saturday 15 January 2022, Canada’s lorry drivers were granted a federal exemption from vaccine requirements to enable them to cross the border into the US and back without having to show proof of inoculation against the coronavirus.

Now that privilege has expired, unvaccinated drivers returning from the US face having to quarantine for 14 days, although this requirement would only apply to a minority of around 16,000 drivers given that 85 per cent of their colleagues have had their jabs.

But those who will be impacted by the new rules are incensed, and duly banded together to embark from Prince Rupert in the far west of British Columbia on Sunday 23 January to make the epic 2,443-mile journey to Parliament Hill in the nation’s capital in time to attend a rally scheduled for Saturday 29 January.

Joe Sommerlad has the full story:

Why Canadian truckers are driving cross-country to protest vaccine mandates

TikToks capture ‘Trudeau rage’ among truckers

Friday 28 January 2022 16:49 , Thomas Fenton

A series of TikTok videos have been shared by a right-wing journalist on Twitter, which purport to show the extent of the Canadian truckers protest - and the disdain many have for the nation’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

“It really is fun. There’s a festival feeling to it. Trudeau’s rage is showing; the convoy is full of happy warriors,” one video is captioned by Rebel News’ Ezra Levant. The TikTok in question also features a “F**k Trudeau” flag in the foreground as the trucks roll by.

As many as 50,000 vehicles are expected to continue the long journey to Ottawa on Friday, in what is a mass protest movement against vaccine mandates for drivers who cross over the Canadian-US border.

Joe Rogan: Protesting truckers shows Canada is ‘in revolt'

Friday 28 January 2022 16:15 , Thomas Fenton

Controversial podcast host Joe Rogan has spoken out on the Canadian trucker protest, appearing to sympathise with the cause.

During Thursday’s episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, he told his guest, freediver and Canadian citizen Valentine Thomas, “your country’s in revolt, do you know about this?”

“It’s a giant convoy of trucks...some insane amount of people..like 50,000 trucks.”

Mr Rogan adds: “Apparently [the truckers are] all being mandated to get vaccinated, and they’re all like ‘hey, we don't even contact anybody.’”

US truckers to join ‘Freedom Convoy’ on Saturday

Friday 28 January 2022 15:32 , Thomas Fenton

According to Canadian Trucking Magazine publisher Dave MacKenzie, some US truckers are driving from North Dakota to Portal Saskatchewan, where they intend to cross the border and join their Canadian counterparts’ protest.

“Others are just driving in convoys in the US to show support,” he told West Standard Online. “The number of US drivers has gone from hundreds, to thousands, to hundreds again.”

MacKenzie explained travel costs are a large factor contributing to drivers’ ability to stay with the protest convoys.

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 - as well as those from the States.

The Toronto Sun estimates that up to 50,000 trucks could be participating, which would exceed the existing record by around 10 times if the convoy stays intact until all the way to Ottowa.

GoFundMe releases just $1m of the $6m total raised by truckers

Friday 28 January 2022 14:30 , Thomas Fenton

The crowdfunding platform GoFundMe says it has released an initial $1 million of the $6.2 million intended to support a convoy of truckers (and their supporters) which is currently headed for Ottowa.

As CBC reports, the fundraising page was launched earlier this month by Tamara Lich to take donations to cover the convoy’s fuel, food and lodging expenses - which is protesting against vaccine mandates for Canadian truckers.

Earlier this week, GoFundMe said it was holding back the funds until it received more details about the group and its financial management.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe stated on Thursday that the organizer has provided a distribution plan and the withdrawn funds are being used to cover participants’ fuel costs.

They added that the platform is working with the organizers to release the rest of the money once participants have been reimbursed for their expenses.

Crowd in Toronto cheers on anti-vaccine trucker convoy

Friday 28 January 2022 14:00 , Thomas Fenton

A large crowd gathered outside a mall north of Toronto on Thursday to cheer a group of local truckers preparing to join a convoy to Ottawa protesting Canada‘s coronavirus vaccine mandate for cross-border drivers.

Some in the crowd threw cash and food up to drivers inside their truck cabs at the Vaughan Mills mall while others waved Canadian flags and signs protesting the government as the truckers gradually rolled out. Worryingly, some journalists were reportedly harassed while they tried to cover the rally.

The convoy of truckers set to descend on Canada’s capital has prompted police to prepare for the possibility of violence, with some politicians also warning against escalating rhetoric linked to the demonstration.

The truckers are protesting a new rule that took effect on 15 January requiring truckers entering Canada be fully immunized against Covid-19. The United States has imposed the same requirement on truckers entering neighbouring countries.

Read more:

Crowd in Toronto cheers on anti-vaccine trucker convoy

Elon Musk Tweets out: “Canadian truckers rule”

Friday 28 January 2022 13:29 , Thomas Fenton

The Tesla and Space X chief appeared to throw his support behind the Canadian truckers who are travelling to Ottowa this weekend in protest over vaccine mandates.

Mr Musk Tweeted, “Canadian truckers rule”, adding that “CB radios are free from govt/media control” in a follow-up.

As of writing, his original Tweet has over 367k likes.

Trudeau blasts ‘fringe minority’ behind trucking convoy

Friday 28 January 2022 12:39 , Thomas Fenton

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has blasted the “fringe minority” behind the convoy of truckers protesting Covid passports at the US border.

The convoy is making its way to Ottawa’s Parliament Hill on Friday to protest the country’s Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other, who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values, as a country,” said Mr Trudeau.

The federal government ended a truckers’ exemption to the vaccine mandate on 15 January, which now means that Canadian truck drivers need to be fully vaccinated to avoid a 14-day quarantine when they cross back into the country from the US.

Graeme Massie reports:

Trudeau blasts ‘fringe minority’ behind trucking protest convoy

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