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How a Fringe Rally in Canada Became a Huge Deal

There are plenty of coronavirus denialists and conspiracy theorists marching among the vans in downtown Ottawa, but Mike Johnson doesn’t count himself among them.

Mr Johnson, 53, said he wasn’t even particularly interested in government mandates or vaccine passports until his son urged him to drive to the nation’s capital to protest against them. here a few weeks.

But now his red truck with a fire engine, the only thing of significant value he owns, is parked just outside the Canadian Parliament – and Mr Johnson says he’s prepared. for the police to seize it and give up his livelihood to protect justice.

“When we turned our headlights toward Ottawa, I don’t think any of us knew where we were driving,” said Mr Johnson, a truck driver from Niagara, Ontario. “I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got here.”

Many of the protesters have links to far-right parties whose support is so low that they don’t have seats in the federal parliament. Mr Johnson said he supported such a party, Canadian People’s Party, whose leader has fought back against multiculturalism, immigration and climate change “hysterically”.

What began as a group of lax protesters against vaccine regulations has turned into a broader movement against pandemic restrictions in general and the leadership of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Logjam in the nation’s capital, the week-long blockade of the Ontario Bridge, which is so critical to the auto manufacturers’ supply chains, and media coverage of all of it across the board. The globe has given the protests an overwhelming resonance and impact.

As police appear poised to crack down on protests, the so-called “Liberty Convoy” may well last long after the last lorries depart – if only a vivid sample of how Civil disobedience can be effective, especially among liberals where the threshold for law enforcement intervention to prevent protests can be high.

Like 2011’s Occupy Wall Street, the Canadian convoys show what seem like fringe political movements can rally forces at a time of anxiety – and the world’s cameras are on them. Back then, the driving force was anger at widespread social inequality. These days it is a deadly global pandemic.

Mr. Johnson has never been vaccinated and does not need to transport scrap around northern Ontario without having to cross the border. He believes the coronavirus is real and when people knock on his cab door to talk about conspiracy theories, he refuses to participate.

“That’s not why I’m here,” he said. “It’s a distraction.”

His centrally located truck has become a command post for anyone who needs a break from the freezing cold or a place to charge a phone. The influx of people moved Mr. Johnson with the story of losing his job because he didn’t want to get vaccinated.

Mr Johnson believes that even with the police in effect, truckers will make a lasting mark on the country by drawing attention to their demands.

“This is already a positive achievement,” he said, looking at the police car parked on the lawn of the Parliament building. “No matter what happens.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/17/world/canada/ottawa-protests-media-attention.html How a Fringe Rally in Canada Became a Huge Deal

Fry Electronics Team

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