‘Freedom Convoy’ expected to roll through Waterloo Region on Thursday

Click to play video: 'Ontario police investigating after video of officer supporting Freedom Rally posted online'
Ontario police investigating after video of officer supporting Freedom Rally posted online
Ontario police investigating after video of officer supporting Freedom Rally posted online – Jan 25, 2022

UPDATE: Organizers initially said the convoy would go through the area in the morning but have now pushed back the times.

Those who plan on travelling on Highway 401 on Thursday afternoon should be prepared to add some time to their commute.

There are three convoys of trucks involved in the so-called “Freedom Convoy,” with drivers travelling from the east and west coasts as well as a groups which will depart from Windsor and Sarnia on Thursday at 5:30 a.m.

The southern arm of the Freedom Convoy is expected to hit the Ayr area at around 12:30 p.m. and leave at around 1:30 p.m., according to organizers.

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The truck drivers will pass through the area as they continue their travels onto Ottawa for this weekend’s protest.

The arrival of the convoy could also cause travel snarls on overpasses as area residents could line the bridges to show support for the cause.

At least one Facebook group has been started to organize a showing of support for the truck drivers and is asking people to gather on the Homer Watson Boulevard highway overpass at around 12:15 p.m.

Click to play video: 'Convoy frustration from truckers headed to Ottawa'
Convoy frustration from truckers headed to Ottawa

So far around 199 people have indicated they will attend, while several hundred others have shown interest.

The truckers are driving to Ottawa to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has placed on truck drivers.

In November 2021, he announced that all Canadian truckers looking to cross the border from the United States would need to be vaccinated in order to avoid a 14-day quarantine. The Americans followed suit last Saturday.

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The plan did not take effect until Jan. 15, to give the drivers a couple of months to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Organizers describe the vaccine mandate as an example of political overreach resulting in economic harm, arguing the policy hurts small businesses and denies some workers the means to survive.

“The goal is to regain freedom in Canada,” said Brigitte Belton, a trucker who has been regularly making TikTok videos about the convoy — although, because of work, she said she wasn’t driving alongside them when she spoke to Global News on Monday.

“It seems that Mr. Trudeau thinks that our rights and freedoms can be taken at any point in time.”

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, which Trudeau touted on Monday as the “biggest trucker association in Canada,” has spoken out against the pending protests.

“The Canadian Trucking Alliance does not support and strongly disapproves of any protests on public roadways, highways, and bridges,” it said in a statement on Saturday, just 24 hours before the convoy was set to leave British Columbia en route to Ottawa.

— with files from Global News and wire services


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