Freedom Convoy rolls through Kingston

Canadian flags and ‘go home’ signs flooded Ontario St. Saturday

Freedom convoy protest took place in Kingston on Feb. 12.

This article discusses vaccine hesitancy towards the mRNA and viral vector-based COVID-19 vaccines approved by Health Canada. To learn more about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, please visit these resources from the Government of Canada and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

On Feb. 12, the “Freedom Convoy” drove through Confederation Park at 1:30 p.m.

The Freedom Convoy, a movement calling on the Canadian government to lift COVID-19 restrictions, including mask and vaccine mandates, was planned to occur between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

In response to the planned event, counter-demonstrators arrived outside of Kingston City Hall holding signs reading “End White Supremacy,” “go home,” “Save us from all this ‘Freedumb’,” and “Nazis F— off,” at 1:00 p.m. 

Supporters of the Freedom Convoy movement arrived later and stood in front of City Hall. To maintain a peaceful demonstration, Kingston Police had the two protest groups stand on opposite sides of Ontario St.

Joel Loken, a supporter of the Freedom Convoy movement, was adamant about his perception of the “dangers” of the COVID-19 vaccines. 

“I work at Queen’s, I work with scientists and doctors, and my wife is a nurse—one thing we don’t understand is why do they never talk about how dangerous those vaccines are,” Loken said in an interview with The Journal.

At 2:00 p.m., the road was barricaded by counter-demonstrators as the convoy rolled in from Gardiners Rd. to Bath Rd., Portsmouth Ave., King St. West, Sir Joh A. Macdonald Blvd., Princess St. and Ontario St., according to a Kingston Police press release.

Kingston Police eventually removed the orange barricades and had counter-protesters clear the road. The convoy continued up Brock St. and the police, to maintain safety, blocked access to Ontario St. and stayed along the new barricade.

Joanne Lalonde and Robyn Bronskill, two Kingston locals, were attending the counter-protest for their grandchildren. Both said the Convoy movement is a threat to Canadian democracy.

“Canadians should be watching their democracy,” Bronskill said in an interview with The Journal.

“A lot of them are trying to occupy the parliament—it’s absolutely ludicrous,” Lalonde added. “[They] think they’re allowed to actually cause this disruption to the lives of others, and essentially they’re taking away others’ freedom.”

Lalonde said COVID-19 restrictions are needed to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

“It’s been a tough two years, but we need to stick together and get through this,” Lalonde said. “It’s been very upsetting to see our country so divided.”

By 3:00 p.m., the street was filled with Canadian flags as approximately 50 to 60 truckers drove through Brock St. and headed down Princess St.

The Journal reached out to the Kingston Police for comment but did not receive a statement in time for publication.

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