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B.C. protests held in support of anti-vaccine mandate trucker convoy

Click to play video: 'B.C. protests held in support of anti-vaccine mandate trucker convoy'
B.C. protests held in support of anti-vaccine mandate trucker convoy
As truckers and opponents of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions rallied in Ottawa Saturday, similar convoys and protests took place on Vancouver Island, in the B.C. Interior and downtown Vancouver. Paul Johnson reports – Jan 29, 2022

As truckers opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions, and their supporters, rallied in Ottawa Saturday, similar convoys and protests took place in Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the B.C. Interior.

A “slow roll” convoy departed Langley around 10 a.m., blaring horns as it headed through downtown Vancouver before finishing in Chilliwack.

Read more: As it happened: Trucker convoy protest continues in Ottawa

Another group of demonstrators met in Stanley Park at 11 a.m., before walking to Canada Place and then to the law courts in downtown Vancouver.

On Vancouver Island, a convoy left Campbell River shortly before 8 a.m., gathering scores of big rigs and private vehicles before arriving in Victoria, where a crowd filled the lawn of the B.C. legislature.

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“Democracy is very fragile and can be lost in a very quick moment, and that’s what’s happening now,” Brian Peckford, former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, told Global News after speaking at the Victoria rally.

“All of the mandates should be lifted, all the travel mandates, all the mandates in Canada … there’s a vulnerable population that are affected by this, that’s where they should have been focusing.”

Read more: ‘Just sickening’: Backlash after Terry Fox statue ‘appropriated’ at Ottawa trucker rally

Rallygoers held an assortment of signs, ranging from attestations that opposition to vaccine mandates doesn’t mean opposition to vaccines; to anger about globalism, the “New World Order” and communism;  and to support for the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin, which health officials have warned against using to treat COVID-19.

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Victoria protester Nick Milonas said he felt it was unfair to make people choose between their job and vaccination.

“We have been imposing vaccine mandates so we can keep our jobs and pay our mortgages,” he said. “We do not want to live in a society where we have to produce passports in order for us to do our everyday things.”

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Similar events were planned for Vernon and Cranbrook, and hundreds of people also gathered in Kelowna’s Stuart Park.

Meanwhile, masses of people descended on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill in the culmination of a cross-country protest convoy that started in B.C. last Sunday.

Some participants have said they are angry with the end of a vaccine exemption for cross-border truckers, while others have called for the removal of all COVID-19 measures and even the removal of the government. Some of the convoy’s organizers also have a history of white nationalism and racism.

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The Canadian Trucking Alliance condemned the convoy, saying many of the Ottawa demonstrators have “no connection to the trucking industry.”

Read more: Some trucker convoy organizers have history of white nationalism, racism

“(They) have a separate agenda beyond a disagreement over cross-border vaccine requirements,” the statement reads.

“As these protests unfold over the weekend, we ask the Canadian public to be aware that many of the people you see and hear in media reports do not have a connection to the trucking industry.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described the convoy as a “fringe minority” of Canadians, holding “unacceptable views” earlier this week.

And, an Ipsos poll conducted for Global News this month found 67 per cent of respondents backed tougher restrictions on unvaccinated Canadians.

As of Friday, nearly 80 per cent of Canada’s population had had two doses of vaccine, compared to 79 per cent in B.C.

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