The sound of their horns could be heard in communities throughout the Shuswap, truckers responding to people who crowded along the Trans-Canada Highway to show their support.
On Sunday morning, Jan. 23, a large group of B.C. truckers, dubbed the ‘Freedom Convoy,’ left the Lower Mainland. They were travelling to Ottawa to protest the federal government’s mandate requiring all truck drivers crossing into Canada be vaccinated.
Around 2 p.m., the convoy reached Salmon Arm, where they were greeted by hundreds of people supportive of the truckers and their cause. Many carried signs showing their love, while others showed messages of opposition to ongoing restrictive mandates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the truckers honked their horns as they drove by.
“It was an amazing atmosphere…. Nothing but love and support in every direction,” said Sorrento resident Jamie-Lee Smoch, who photographed the event.
Salmon Arm RCMP thanked those who obeyed the direction of attending officers during the “largely peaceful and lawful” demonstration.
“The estimated 600 people were largely respectful of the officers…,” said Staff Sgt. Scott West in a Jan. 24 media release.
West said demonstrators were asked to leave the highway median for safety reasons and because it was unlawful to be there as per the BC Motor Vehicle Act (Section 182). Most who were asked “respectfully relocated” to the sidewalk. West noted a comparatively smaller group of people “yelled at and taunted officers.”
“I think it is important to thank quite a number of the demonstrators who respectfully relocated to the sidewalk area from the median and stayed off the highway,” said West. “Our detachment members would like to thank those people for being so respectful and safe.
“For us as police, we are there to preserve rights, and one of those rights is to lawful assembly, but we all have a common goal to make sure everyone is safe. In this case, the public, the motorists and the police personnel could all have been at risk at one point or another during this two-to-three-hour event….”
West said police attended demonstrations in the downtown and at the Highway 97B intersection. In the Shuswap, demonstrations reportedly took place along the highway from Sorrento to Sicamous.
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