Thousands of people gather in downtown Victoria for the rally of truckers against pandemic restrictions
Saturday afternoon traffic jam along Douglas from Uptown to downtown amid a constant and very loud chorus of truck and car horns
Hundreds of vehicles, from industrial trucks to minivans and everything in between, choked the Trans-Canada Highway and Douglas Street on Saturday afternoon as they made their way to the BC Legislature to join the convoy and at the island rally to coincide with the massive protest in Ottawa.
Draped in Canadian flags and carrying signs demanding an end to vaccination passport warrants, economic restrictions and, in some cases, mandatory vaccinations, thousands of people took to the lawns of the Legislative Assembly.
There were people in the crowd, estimated by Victoria Police at 5,000 at one point, who said they had been vaccinated but felt the restrictions and mandates had lasted long enough and it was time for the country to return to normal.
Others were adamant that they would never receive the vaccine and called for an end to vaccine requirements at worksites and an end to having to show vaccination status to enter certain places.
Teams set up for the protest at the Legislative Assembly early Saturday, and later that morning there were hundreds on the lawn, many carrying Canadian flags and waving as passing vehicles honked their horns in defiance. solidarity. This small gathering grew as the day progressed and by early afternoon Douglas Street was jammed with honking vehicles from the corner of Belleville Street to the Uptown Mall.
By then, slow convoys of big rigs, heavy industrial trucks and smaller cars that started in the North Island early in the morning had picked up vehicles and smoked all day and reached the outskirts. of Victoria. The convoys – “Convoy 4 Truckers” and a “Convoy to End Mandates” – which encountered small supporting crowds in towns along the way, stopped to add more bodies and vehicles before arriving in Victoria .
There were hockey sticks with flags attached to cars and attached to trucks, and other signs with pointed messages for Canadian politicians and health authorities to rescind their rules and mandates.
The rally may have represented only a small percentage of the population, but the noise level was high, with a constant soundtrack of car horns, while the neighborhoods around the legislature were littered all afternoon cars in the colors of the Canadian flag and others with requirements. for politicians to resign written on their windows.
The rally, organized by We Unify Canada, a group that claims to push for more open democracy, has lined up speakers for the event, including FrontLine Canada’s Kari Simpson, who has spoken out against vaccination mandates, and l former Premier of Newfoundland Brian Peckford, who is part of a group that has sought a judicial review of the federal Minister of Transport’s decision to limit the mobility of Canadians based on their vaccination status.
Police were at the scene during the rally and had advised residents that traffic in the city was disrupted by “serious traffic jams” and to avoid the area. Victoria Police spokesman Cam MacIntyre said the event was peaceful and had diminished significantly by 5.30pm.
BC Transit issued a series of service advisories throughout the day, noting that service was not possible in parts of James Bay. The Legislature Terminus was closed and buses instead ended their routes near the corner of Burdett and Douglas streets.
Businesses close to the legislature reported problems with a lack of parking spaces for regular customers, although some expected additional business from rally attendees later in the day.
> Thousands Gather on Parliament Hill in Massive Protest Against Vaccination Mandates