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The Freedom Convoy that began on Saturday in Ottawa Canada has caught on in other places around the world and now, a grassroots movement is planning on taking the protest to the holy city of Jerusalem. Though the initiative began on Friday with the posting of a Facebook page and no precise time or place, over 25,600 people have already signed on with the number quickly rising.
Originating in Canada
A massive convoy of trucks set out from British Columbia on Sunday, January 23, and arrived in Ottawa on Friday ahead of a two-day protest scheduled in the city for Saturday and Sunday against the pandemic measures taken by the government including vaccine mandates. About 2,700 trucks arrived, lining up in front of the Parliament buildings.
The convoy was sparked off by a new rule that took effect on Jan. 15 requiring truckers entering Canada to be fully immunized against the coronavirus. The United States has imposed the same requirement on truckers entering that country. Truck drivers working the cross-border routes had previously been exempt from mandates, considered essential workers.Over 80% of the eligible population in Canada is fully vaccinated, one of the highest rates in the world and the Canadian Trucking Alliance estimates that 85% to 90% of the 120,000 Canadian truckers who work cross-border routes are vaccinated and said on Saturday that it appeared many of the protesters in Ottawa have no connection to the industry. The measure could remove as many as 16,000 drivers from those routes during a period when the supply chain is being challenged.
Taxation without vaccination
The premier of the province of Quebec is proposing to tax the unvaccinated.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismissed the massive protest, saying it was a “very troubling, small but very vocal minority of Canadians who are lashing out at science, at government, at society, at mandates and public health advice.”
As a result of the protest, Trudeau and his family were moved by security from their home in Ottowa to an undisclosed location. A top official overseeing security for Canada’s House of Commons sent email warning members of Parliament to “go somewhere safe” and hide if they witness demonstrations near their residences or offices, CTV News reported.
The protest enjoys powerful popular support and The GoFundMe campaign raised over $5.4million from over 99,000 donors.
Convoys are appearing in Canada, Australia, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands. And Israel is now joining the ranks. Still in the planning stages, the locations and times of the convoys will be announced within the next few days. An organizer spoke to Israel365 News about the initiative. He preferred to remain anonymous as not to detract attention from the cause.
“We began with a Facebook group on Friday,” he said. “There are currently over 27,000 members and that number grows every time I check.”
“Any vehicle can join,” he said. “We will begin with small gatherings in separate locations around the country with the intention to join together in Jerusalem to show the government that the people will not accept these mandates anymore.”
“Our message is the same as the other convoys around the world. The government needs to stop entirely all of the restrictions related to the pandemic. The government must stop classifying this as a national emergency. This is the first stage of what the government must do.”
The group is not making any declarations regarding medical procedures.
“This is an issue of government and freedom. Each person should make their own considerations when deciding whether to vaccinate. But the rules pertaining to how to work and how to travel that are enforced on the general public must end.”
The protests come just as a new and extensive study released by Johns Hopkins concluded that lockdown measures and mask mandates used by governments worldwide to reduce the death toll from the pandemic had little or no impact on COVID-19 mortality.
It should also be noted that on Sunday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s cabinet voted to extend the controversial Green Pass mandate by one week despite expressed opposition from hospital officials.
The convoys and the anti-mandate movement has been criticized for not caring about public health.
“We care deeply,” he said. “We are not anti-vaccine. We are not anti-mask. We are pro-freedom of the individual. We believe people can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
“The media have labeled the movement, ‘anti-vax’,” he said. “There is no connection between our cause and objection to the vaccine. We object to the government mandating regulations that take away individual rights for no reason. They have not worked so they need to be stopped immediately.”
“The last two years have shown that nothing the government has done has helped the situation. In fact, the government measures have just caused damage. Especially to children who have been prevented from going to school for no reason.”
Despite being an international phenomenon, the convoy movement has been underreported misrepresented in the media. Pressure has also been employed in other ways. It should be noted that there have been no reports in the Israeli media about the initiative and the interest so far has been developed via grassroots channels.
Israel joins the movement
The Israel Freedom Convoy group recommends that people who are interested in updates should also join their group on Telegram as such initiatives have been censored and removed from social media in the past.
As a convoy arrived in Canberra, the capital of Australia, GoFundMe froze access to more than $160,000 in funds raised by supporters over four days.
“The funds will be held safely until the organizer completes the verification process, and is able to provide documentation to our team about how funds will be distributed,” a spokesperson from the funding website said.