The “freedom” convoys have been a familiar sight on the north Island heading south to Victoria where numerous weekend protests have taken over the grounds of the Legislature and downtown streets.
Now, a convoy of unknown size appears to have its sights set on Campbell River for Saturday.
“In terms of preparations, we’re definitely aware and what we’re going to be looking at is any actions that aren’t legal and we’re going to be dealing with those on a case by case basis,” said Campbell River RCMP Constable Maury Tyre.
It is unclear how many protest vehicles could show up and how long they intend to stay.
There even appears to be more than one group organizing a convoy. A schedule found on a Campbell River Freedom Facebook page shows the route and times when others can join as the convoy travels north from Victoria.
On Friday afternoon, the organizer of one convoy, Ron Clark who also protested in Ottawa last month, live-streamed for 14 minutes appealing to his followers to stay out of trouble.
“We’re trying to follow the rules and regulations, we’re not trying to break any laws,” said Clark. “We’re trying to do this peacefully, we’re not going to block any vehicles on any roads anywhere.”
The mayor of Campbell River appealed to the convoy to stay out of downtown and particularly Shoppers Row so local businesses aren’t affected.
The city is directing organizers to a gravel parking lot north of the ferry terminal to hold the protest, but Andy Adams is wondering what the protest is all about.
“They difinitely have a right to protest, but most of the mandates have been lifted and things are pretty much back to normal for the most part so I’m not really sure why they’re coming,” said Adams.
Others in the community feel the same way.
“I think that maybe it’s time to move on and concentrate on more important things like the conflict in Ukraine and be thankful for what we have in our country,” said Alex McIntosh.
The grievances of protestors vary widely but most are against ongoing COVID mandates.
Unvaccinated Canadians over 12 years of age continue to face travel restrictions such as boarding planes to domestic and international destinations, as well as trains and cruise ships.
The convoy is expected to arrive in Campbell River at 12:30 Saturday afternoon.