The demonstrations in Canada’s capital city came just months after the Freedom Convoy spent three weeks camped out in the city protesting the government’s vaccine mandates and days after one of the convoy’s organizers was arrested for allegedly not following the conditions of her bail.
“We are going to be peaceful. We are going to be lawful. And if [police] want to try and crack down on us for peacefully protesting on Parliament Hill, then there’s nothing we can do. We’ll just have to deal with it at that time,” said Andrew MacGillvray of Veterans for Freedom, a group related to the Freedom Convoy.
According to Politico, hundreds of demonstrators showed up to protest government COVID mandates and the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who previously said protesters were “trying to blockade our economy, our democracy.”
Demonstrators waved “F*** Trudeau” flags, and had “Freedom Convoy 2022” gear for sale.
“Canada has never been perfect, and it’s not perfect now,” Trudeau said during his remarks on Canada Day, the day when the Canadian Federation was formed. “Let’s remember the values that it stands for: Compassion, hope and responsibility, justice, openness and hard work.”
Trudeau has taken heat in recent months for the government’s COVID vaccine mandate for truckers and his government’s response to the protests.
Pierre Polievre, a candidate running to lead Canada’s Conservative Party and become prime minister, opposes the mandates and walked with anti-mandate demonstrators on Thursday.
“End all mandates. Restore our freedoms. Let people take back control of their lives,” he tweeted.
The demonstrations also followed the arrest of Tamara Lich, an organizer of the original Freedom Convoy, after she allegedly did not follow the conditions of her bail. Lich, who was arrested in Alberta, now needs to go back to Ottawa for a court appearance.
“Based on everything we knew, she’s been diligently complying with all of her bail conditions as was noted by the judge at her recent bail review,” one of her lawyers said.
She was originally arrested and charged with obstructing police, mischief, intimidation by blocking, and other charges related to the February protest.