The honking was constant and so were the cheers in downtown Victoria this weekend.
As one man held up a sign saying, “It’s not about health – it’s about [government] control,” the sign next to him read, “Truckers go home – mandates save lives.”
Look in a different direction, “My body – my choice” was contrasted by the words “Protect our healthcare system – get vaccinated.”
When anti-mandate protesters were met with counter-demonstrators at Saturday’s rally in front of BC’s Legislature, Belleville Street acted as a division line for the opposing groups.
It was the second Saturday in a row protesters gathered in the province’s capital, many making their way from up island to parade past as others lined sidewalks waving Canadian flags.
In anticipation, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth forewarned Victorians to brace for more delays and plan accordingly.
“We are aware of the chance of disruption to residents and businesses in the area, and planning and communication by law enforcement is underway,” Farnworth said on Friday.
The ‘Freedom Convoy’ began in response to the federal government’s vaccine mandate for Canadian cross-border essential workers, including truckers, requiring proof of vaccination to avoid quarantining after returning to Canada.
VicPD had temporary CCTV cameras in place for public safety and did initially report some local traffic disruptions as things got underway.
As the rally wrapped up, a tweet from police confirmed that no accidents or arrests occurred.
VicPD estimated the crowd size had peaked at about 1,500 people yesterday. Last Saturday saw about 5,000 in attendance.
Check out the photos from yesterday’s protest: