On January 27, hundreds of people gathered on the Nevers Road overpass above the Trans-Canada Highway in Fredericton.
The initial point of the rally was to cheer on a convoy of truckers making their way to Ottawa to protest vaccine mandates restricting unvaccinated truckers from crossing the Canada-USA border.
The rally was quickly expanded to become a general protest against vaccine mandates and lockdown measures.
The temperature was about -15 degrees as the convoy rolled in around 1:55 p.m.
Protesters could be heard cheering as Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” blasted over a portable speaker.
The convoy had some semis, but was largely a combination of pick-ups and sedans. At this point it was clear that the movement was no longer just about unvaccinated truckers.
For over 30 minutes, a steady stream of vehicles rolled through. Protestors spilled onto the roadway, reducing the Trans-Canada Highway to one lane.
It was obvious which cars were involved in the convoy. Many had decals with some version of “Convoy 2022” on them.
Almost all had the Canadian flag proudly displayed. Numerous cars also displayed the provincial flags of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia. The convoy had come from all over Atlantic Canada before passing through Fredericton.
The mood on the ground seemed to be one of optimism mixed with anger at the government.
“Fuck Trudeau” signs were ubiquitous. One was even carried by a boy no older than seven who could barely see over it.
Other signs read, “end vaccine passports” and, “no more lockdowns.” One small child had a sign reading, “let me dance again,” referring to the cancellation of her dance lessons.
When asked, everyone said virtually the same thing. They wanted an end to the vaccine passports and lockdown policies in the province.
Protestors acknowledged that the mandates were provincial, but felt that a large national movement may pressure the provincial governments into changing their policies.
Two lobster fishermen said they were going to follow the convoy to Ottawa in their camper.
Kyle Drifter says he hopes to document the convoy while also supporting the cause.
“We’re back at square one,” said Drifter. “It’s been two years and other countries are dropping the mandates and here we are in New Brunswick with some of the strictest measures in the world.”
When asked about the vaccine, he said he wants people’s choices to be respected
“Let people do what they want. If they want the needle, that’s great. But if not, we shouldn’t be punishing people for that.”
This sentiment was shared by others at the rally.
Since arriving in Ottawa, the convoy has been plagued by various hateful flags and other actions causing disruption to the city.