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Truck convoy against COVID-19 public health measures rolls through Aylmer, Ont.

A small Ontario community that has a history of protests opposing vaccine mandates was the site of a convoy calling for an end to lockdowns and COVID-19 mandates on Thursday.
A variety of vehicles, including transport trucks and tractors, were part of a protest that rolled slowly through Aylmer and the surrounding area on Thursday. (James Chaarani/ CBC News)

A small Ontario community that has a history of protests opposing vaccine mandates was the site of a convoy calling for an end to lockdowns and COVID-19 mandates on Thursday.

About 150 vehicles, including transport trucks and tractors, blared their horns as they drove through Aylmer, Ont., and surrounding rural roads in Elgin County.

A number of vehicles flew Canadian flags, and signs were displayed that said "No more mandates" and "Liberty or Death." 

Police warned drivers in the area to expect significant slowdowns. 

Aylmer is home to the Church of God, one of two Ontario religious groups arguing this week that public health restrictions that shuttered services violated their constitutional rights.

The small town was also the site of a massive rally against public health measures in November 2020 that forced the town to declare a state of emergency. 

The organizers called the protest a "Freedom Rally" with signs depicting opposition to lockdown mandates. (James Chaarani/ CBC News)

That part of Elgin County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in Ontario. On Thursday, Southwestern Public Health said 56 per cent of people in the Aylmer district had both doses, compared to 79 per cent across Ontario.

The protest took place at the same time demonstrators in Ottawa held a news conference saying they plan to stay in the city until their demands are met.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is not planning to call the army into Ottawa to deal with the protesters, but that he will not negotiate with them.

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