‘Freedom Convoy’ members plan small gathering in Ottawa two years after protest

'Freedom Convoy' members plan small gathering in Ottawa two years after protest
A protester dances on a concrete jersey barrier in front of vehicles and placards on Rideau Street in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

Some of the people who took part in the “Freedom Convoy” two years ago plan a return to downtown Ottawa this weekend to commemorate the anniversary of the police action that broke up the demonstrations.

At a press conference Friday afternoon, two members of the so-called freedom movement announced plans to hold a gathering on Parliament Hill on Saturday.

READ MORE: Federal use of the Emergencies Act was unreasonable, judge rules

“There’s not expected to be any kind of vehicle protest,” said Chris Dacey, an Ottawa resident who took part in the demonstration two years ago.

He said the group plans to hold speeches and a march Saturday afternoon.

Thousands of people took over streets around Parliament Hill in late January 2022, blocking roads with big-rig trucks and other vehicles and refusing to move.

The protesters were loosely organized, with many gathering to oppose COVID-19 pandemic restrictions — which had mostly ended by that time — and others hoping to bring down the Trudeau government.

Many downtown businesses, including the Rideau Centre mall, were forced to close because of the diesel fumes and makeshift encampments. Some residents said they were harassed, and many complained of being kept up all night by blaring truck horns, loud music and fireworks.

Protesters also blockaded several border crossings with the United States.

After weeks of disruptions, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act to grant extraordinary powers to police and governments and freeze bank accounts of protesters.

Police from across Ontario and Quebec were brought in to clear the Ottawa streets in a massive multi-day operation that ended Feb. 17, 2022.

Invoking the Emergencies Act triggered an automatic federal commission to review the government’s decision. The Public Order Emergency Commission issued 56 recommendations for police and governments last February, and commissioner Paul Rouleau concluded that the Liberals were justified in turning to the never-before-used legislation.

Last month, Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley said the invoking the Emergencies Act was unreasonable and violated the constitutional right of free expression. The federal government has already pledged to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.

Two of the main organizers of the “Freedom Convoy,” Tamara Lich and Chris Barber, are on trial for mischief and other charges in a case that has dragged on for months in on Ottawa court.

A proposed $290-million class-action lawsuit against convoy organizers on behalf of Ottawa residents, workers and business owners is still working its way through court.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2024.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!