Following the example of the thousands of Canadian truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the capital of Ottawa, truckers in other countries have begun organizing their own versions of the “Freedom Convoy.”
From Leeuwarden in the Netherlands to Wellington, New Zealand, to London to Canberra, Australia, truckers are hitting the road to send a clear message: stop the mandates.
Another group of truckers is planning a protest in the United States, driving to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
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“I think you’re starting to see what will become a big global movement to end these mandates,” Brian Brase, co-organizer of the U.S. protest, told Fox News Digital on Sunday. “It’s a violation of your human rights to be mandated to take this vaccine. If you want it, go get it, but being mandated to get it, we’re standing up against that. We think it’s wrong.”
Brase told Fox News Digital that the U.S. trucker effort was “just shy of 140,000 people when Facebook dropped us.” On Feb. 2, Facebook removed a Facebook page called “Convoy to D.C. 2022.” A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told Fox News that the platform removed the group “for repeatedly violating our policies around QAnon,” which Facebook previously labeled a “violence-inducing conspiracy network.” Brase had disputed that claim, saying, “That’s just not true.”
Brase said truckers from across the U.S. are calling to join the effort. “We’re having trucker companies from all over the country calling us, drivers,” he said. He teased a major press release with details on Tuesday, Feb. 8. “The sheer volume of response… I’m going to say we’ll be just as big as Canada if not larger.”
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“Canada has inspired the entire world to stand up,” Brase told Fox News. “We’re so proud of our Canadian brothers and sisters in the trucking industry.” He also said that truckers across the world have called him to coordinate and express support. “Across the world, I’ve had people reach out: Finland, and Switzerland, and Norway, and Germany, and the UK, Australia.”
“The truck drivers are uniting worldwide,” he said.
At least 1,000 people have gathered near Parliament House in Canberra to protest the COVID-19 vaccine mandate and other pandemic restrictions, the Canberra Times reported Saturday. Organizers have called for 5 million Australians to converge on the capital ahead of Parliament’s return on Feb. 8.
Truckers in New Zealand reportedly launched a convoy from both ends of the country. One group departed Sunday from the North Island and another will depart from the South Island, with both converging at the capital of Wellington, which is near the middle of the country, the New Zealand Herald reported.
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Jess, who operates the TikTok channel @nztruckies, told the Toronto Star that she and other protesters from the South Island won’t be able to make it to Wellington because they need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to ride the ferry to the North Island. Jess did not give her last name to the Toronto Star.
Truckers across Europe are also planning convoys.
A World Freedom Convoy group on Signal is planning two separate protests, the Brussels Times reported. In about a week, 40,000 people joined the Signal chat. Truck drivers plan to drive to their respective capital cities on Feb. 7, and the broader European group will drive toward Brussels on Feb. 14.
About 25 trucks, dozens of cars and several tractors gathered in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, to protest COVID-19 restrictions on Sunday, the Dutch channel Omrop Fryslâan reported, according to NL Times. The Freedom Convoy Netherlands is consciously echoing the Canadian effort.
Aram Lemmer, a business owner and organizer in Austria, told the Toronto Star that he and two other organizers have a commitment of 2,500 vehicles driving to Vienna in a convoy on Feb. 13, including cars, trucks, tractors and cyclists. They are demanding that the government give up all restrictions and resign. Austrian lawmakers on Thursday approved a measure forcing Austrians to decide between getting vaccinated for COVID-19 or face a fine ranging from 600 to 3,600 Euros ($680-$4,000 USD). Only pregnant women, those who have contracted the virus within the past 180 days, and those with medical exemptions can escape the mandate.
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Meanwhile, truckers in the United Kingdom plan to protest from various locations. A Freedom Convoy in Scotland will start in a Glasgow suburb, drive to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh and then down to London, according to the Scottish Daily Express. Freedom Convoys in the U.K. will also set off from Llandudno, Cheshire Oaks and Cardiff in Wales. Convoys have four meet-up points in England: Manchester, Exeter, Bristol and Bournemouth. Protesters will also drive from Belfast in Northern Ireland to Dublin in Ireland.
Jay Cameron, litigation director at the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents the Canadian Freedom Convoy in court, explained why he thinks the protests are spreading across the world.
“There is no mystery as to why protests are spreading: Humanity is objecting en masse to the abuse of bureaucratic tyrants who for two years have suspended the checks and balances which are intended to protect the citizenry,” Cameron told Fox News Digital.
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“People have lost their jobs and their civil liberties: their freedom of religion, speech and freedoms of movement, and their democratic representatives have been largely or entirely sidelined with respect to these arbitrary and often nonsensical decisions,” Cameron added. “And now the people are making their voices heard in peaceful but firm protest against their abusers. They are saying: ‘enough’.”