Hundreds of Grande Prairie residents lined the streets waving flags and cheering on the Slow Roll Freedom Convoy on Saturday. It’s estimated that more than 1,000 cars and trucks participated in the convoy.
Of the spectators MyGrandePrairieNow.com spoke to, the majority said they were in attendance because they are against the vaccine passports, mandates, and other health measures.
“Just fighting for our right for freedom and to end the vaccine mandates. I feel Canadians are sick and tired of Justin Trudeau bossing us around,” Dakota Foley said.
“We’re here to support everything that’s going on in Ottawa,” said Erin Weeks. |We’re here for our kids because they’re our future.”
The convoy started at the Petro-Canada on the west side of the city, moving south on 116 Street, east on 68 Avenue, north on 92 Street, and west on the old bypass to 100 Avenue before returning to the gas station. It took more than two hours for all of the vehicles to leave the starting point, with the convoy taking more than four hours in total.
Flags and signs posted on the vehicles and held by supporters along the way included messages like “mandate freedom”, “no mandates”, “freedom of choice”, “end tyranny”, and “I will not comply”. Some of the crowd said they hope their efforts gain some traction and reach people in charge of public health measures.
“We hope it accomplishes something,” noted Erin Weeks. “We don’t know what it will do yet. Just being here and seeing the support from the community and the number of trucks from different places like Peace River, Grimshaw, Beaverlodge has been amazing.”
“Everybody’s been quiet for so long,” added Megan Boyer. “We need to be loud and proud and speak up for the first time. Since this was a peaceful protest, I was happy to come out and support it. If it were to go the other way I wouldn’t be here today.”
The local convoy happened on the same day the Freedom Convoy 2022 converged on Ottawa. Police estimate 10,000 protesters surrounded the Parliament buildings Saturday in a loud but largely peaceful rally. The national rally was organized in opposition to the vaccine mandate for cross-border drivers and other public health restrictions.
A Memorandum of Understanding from the group Canada Unity also set out a plan to dissolve the federal government and replace it with a committee made up of Senators, the Governor-General, and other members appointed by Canada Unity. The gathering drew criticism from some government officials due to Canadian flags with swastikas drawn on them, dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the defacing of a statue of Terry Fox.