A convoy of truckers who have called themselves Canada Unity are set to arrive in Ottawa this weekend. Several participants from Ontario and nearby provinces could be here as early as tomorrow, January 28, with the majority expected to arrive sometime on Saturday, January 29.
The convoy, which departed on January 24, is made up of truck drivers and supporters from all over Canada and the United States. There is no official count of how many trucks are involved, but many estimates are in the range of 1,000 to 2,000. Ottawa’s Parliamentary Protective Service is expecting 10-thousand protesters.
The goal of the convoy is to have the government lift all COVID-19 related lockdowns and vaccine mandates in the country. Canada Unity is demanding that the Governor General and Senate combine forces to lift any remaining COVID-19 restrictions, waive all fines and cancel “illegal” vaccine passports. Some are more threatening in their language, with one post on the group’s Facebook page saying Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should “watch out on Saturday,” and commenters demanding he be assaulted, arrested, and imprisoned.
The convoy’s plan is to have a presence at Parliament Hill and gridlock the downtown core until all government COVID-19 mandates are lifted. Some participants have said they plan to stay for a week, while others have said they will stay as long as it takes to have the mandates lifted.
The Ottawa Police have advised the people of Ottawa to expect major traffic disruptions this weekend and to avoid travelling around the city if you can. They suggest being prepared to change plans if you are expecting deliveries or have activities planned, and strongly recommend avoiding downtown at all costs. As well, the OPP are encouraging you to avoid highway 416 and 417 this weekend.
The City of Ottawa has shared a list of roads that will be affected by the demonstrations. Find it here.
The Ottawa Police have asked that citizens do not call 911 regarding questions about this weekend’s demonstrations. 911 is an emergency line, which should be reserved for life-threatening emergencies and criminal activity. They said that their priorities lie with keeping emergency lanes open so that hospitals and health care facilities will be accessible.
Officials from cities where the convoy has already passed have said that the protest has remained peaceful so far, and the Ottawa Police and their partner organizations are hopeful that that will remain the case in Ottawa this weekend.