It was a procession of vehicles almost as far as the eye could see leaving Centennial Park to hold a rally in front of Trenton, Ont.’s, municipal offices.
Organizer Curtis Chamberlain says one of the reasons he’s against mandates is because of a family members experience with cancer during the pandemic.
“They weren’t able to have any support with them at all through the whole chemo system and it was just a really hard time for them,” says Chamberlain.
“I’m fully vaccinated but it’s by choice, it was my choice but there’s some people out here that haven’t had a choice and they need to have their voices heard.”
“If you want to get vaccinated I don’t have a problem with that, if you want to wear a mask I don’t have a problem with that,” adds Cory Sager, an organizer from Hastings Rise Up.
“What I have a problem with is being forced to do the same as you because of your fear.”
Many of the protesters say they have been inspired by events playing out in Ottawa.
“I’ve had two vaccines,” says Maureen McKenzie, a Trenton resident.
“I’m against the mandate at this point. I think the government needs to change it’s tact. I believe that’s what the truckers are in Ottawa for.”
Meanwhile, a group of counter-protesters was also on hand, observing the rally.
“I think a lot of the people here say that their voices need to be heard, but I think we’ve heard their voices every day since the beginning of the pandemic,” says Ryan Whiteman, a Belleville resident.
“I think we’ve decided there’s a better course of action.”
While freedom was a consistent refrain at this protest, it didn’t seem to apply to those holding different views.
“Their freedoms aren’t gone, they’re free to do this right here even if it’s based on misinformation and anger,” says Brandon Whaley, one of the counter-protesters.
“You can see in the background we’re getting heckled right here.”
“They don’t care about my freedoms, they only care about their freedoms, and I find that rather selfish,” adds Amanda Carvallo, a Trenton resident.
“We have rules, yes we are a free society but freedom isn’t anarchy, anarchy’s not acceptable and I feel that honestly what some of them want is akin to anarchy.”
While the protest in front of Quinte West’s municipal offices wrapped up in a day, the Ottawa protest is now well into it’s second week with no end in sight.