London

Convoy against COVID-19 mandates rolls into downtown London, Ont.

A vehicle procession of protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates travelled from south London toward City Hall in downtown, London, Ont., on Saturday leading to some road closures amid a cacophony of honking horns.

Slow-moving procession leads to some brief road closures downtown

Protesters gathered in a parking lot south of Highway 401 before joining a convoy travelling up Wellington Street toward London City Hall. A few hundred vehicles took part. (Andrew Lupton/CBC News)

A vehicle procession of protesters opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates travelled from south London toward City Hall in downtown, London, Ont., on Saturday leading to some road closures amid a cacophony of honking horns.

Starting just before 2 p.m. a few hundred vehicles gathered in a parking lot just south of Highway 401 before rolling north. By late afternoon, several sections of roads were temporarily closed, including Commissioners, Wellington and Dufferin Ave.

Shortly after 4 p.m., police said all roads had reopened.

Many of the vehicles were carrying signs with slogans such as "No more lock downs", "No medical tyranny" and "Freedom over fear." 

Some taking part in the convoy who spoke to CBC News said they're opposed to further lock downs. Others said they're against mandates that require truck drivers crossing the border to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Many people refused to speak to CBC, saying it is fake news. 

"I'm non-vaccinated and it's my choice and the government wants to take that away from me," said Nico Ozborn. "I haven't been able to go anywhere or see anybody. People have been afraid of me like I'm an alien or something, it's not fair. I'm a recovered alcoholic I don't feel that I need to put something in my body." 

Another woman who refused to identify herself said she was not there to support truckers, but to call for an end to lock downs. She questioned whether the medical community was being truthful about the data, saying she had done her own research. 

Lisa Viznowski watched the convoy get underway while waiting for her daughter to complete an exam at the DriveTest Centre. 

"I'm having a hard time maintaining my composure," she said. "I support vaccines and don't like how they're making a scene and disrupting business as usual." 

The protest in London happened at the same time as a protest now more than a week old which has effectively shut down Ottawa's downtown. Other, smaller protests against vaccine mandates are happening in Toronto, Winnipeg and other cities. 

Many people hung Canada flags on their vehicles at the rally in London, Ont. on Feb. 5, 2022. (Amanda Margison/ CBC News)

At the same time the convoy was rolling down Wellington Street, a rally was held outside Victoria Hospital in support of health-care workers. 

Traffic disrupted

The convoy caused some traffic disruptions as it moved into downtown. There was no police presence at the gathering point, except for one OPP cruiser parked across the road. 

Just after 2:30 p.m. London police Tweeted that the convoy had forced the closure of Wellington Street to vehicle traffic between Dufferin and Central Avenue. 

Just after 4 p.m., police Tweeted that all roads had reopened. 

Follow CBC London on Twitter and the London Police Service for the latest updates. 

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