The "Freedom Convoy" fight to end COVID-19 mandates in Canada for truckers isn't over yet.
In an address to the media via statement on Wednesday, February 2, organizers of the Freedom Convoy confirmed that they plan to "remain in Ottawa for as long as it takes" for governments across Canada to meet their demands.
"Our message to the citizens of Ottawa is one of empathy," the statement from senior convoy leader Chris Barber read. "We understand your frustration and genuinely wish there was another way for us to get our message across, but the responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who prefer to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue."
The fastest way to get the convoy to leave, Barber added, is for residents to call their elected representatives and have them end all C-19 mandates.
The C-19 mandate is the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federally regulated transportation employees and travellers, according to the Government of Canada.
The mandate was announced on August 31, 2021 and encompasses all employees in the federally regulated air, rail and marine transportation sectors and its travellers.
The mandate was effective as of October 30.
"Convoy leaders, who are meeting daily, also expressed regret that citizens of Canada's capital are bearing this inconvenience," the statement continued, but that their interaction with the Ottawa police has been mostly positive.
"Organizers have been particularly dismayed by the extreme and divisive rhetoric used by politicians — especially Justin Trudeau — who have characterized protesters as racists, and even terrorists."
On Tuesday night, Ottawa police provided an update, saying that two Ottawa men had been arrested in relation to demonstration-related events. One man was charged with mischief to property while another was charged with carrying a weapon to a public meeting.
Ottawa police say there are still 13 ongoing investigations, including an investigation into the desecration of the War Memorial.
Barber added that the convoy is determined to be respectful of the law, peaceful in conduct and retain the dignity of its protesters and messaging, "despite school-yard mudslinging and bullying of some politicians and members of the press."
"Nobody should underestimate our resolve or our resilience," Barber continued. "We are here and we are not going anywhere until we achieve our objective, to see an end of all C-19 mandates and with the resolution of freedoms of all Canadians."