Trucker’s convoy protest. What do you think?

27/01/2022

The trucker’s convoy protest against vaccine mandates is getting increasingly worrisome online. The growing group of truckers and supporters are making their way to Ottawa in a convoy. Experts say the rhetoric on social media sites is getting more negative, with people questioning the safety of vaccines and the motives of protesters.

This is a crucial moment to make the government understand that their decisions affect us all. The voice of the truckers is stronger and united; bringing together the fears, frustrations, and will to stop this nonsense that the population is fed up with.

Protesters are expressing concern over what they see as an attack on their parental rights, which includes deciding when their children should be vaccinated.

A group of truckers and concerned citizens began a cross-country trip to Ottawa over the weekend in protest of vaccine mandates. The groups expect to arrive in Ottawa this Saturday.

The truckers nationwide movement has been gathering steam since the convoy started earlier this week. Videos show a highway gathering in support of the truckers, but some experts worry the online discussion surrounding it has veered into dangerous territory.

“There are people who genuinely believe that this is overreach by the federal government, but there are also a lot of other groups that are involved and individuals who are involved who have a long history of very overheated rhetoric,” Kurt Phillips, founder and former lead writer for Anti-Racist Canada, told CTVNews.ca in a recent phone interview.

The organizers of the convoy insist they are abiding the laws and intend for a peaceful rally in Ottawa this weekend. The convoy is comprised of dozens of people and will roll in from Quebec and travel to Ottawa. This convoy is not just an ordinary protest, but instead intends to bring awareness to the importance of supporting Canadian jobs.

The government has handled this pandemic in the worst possible way; with politicians crossing the border for vacation; lack of decisiveness in controlling the airports, and the list goes on and on.

Our message is “hands off Canadian truckers and the right to decide how to treat our bodies”.

The coercion that the governments all over the world is close

The truckers convoy is a group of Canadian truck drivers that are protesting the federal government’s decision to increase fuel prices. The organizers say it will be peaceful, but Phillips said he’s seen people online calling the Truckers Convoy Canada’s version of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, for the truckers.

“Some of the organizers are trying to get people to dial back the rhetoric, but the genie’s already out of the bottle,” he said. “People are energized in an incredible way right now, and it’s hard to see something not happening. I don’t know if it would be on the scale of Jan. 6 in the United States, but there are so many angry people.”

In a recent article, Peter Smith, a journalist with the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, discusses the similarities between this latest convoy and a similar truck convoy from 2019 that was meant to protest.

“Right from the start, the largest groups … have been organized and managed by people who have connections to those types of groups like the Yellow Vests, the separatist Western movements,” he said. “So right from the start, this began as part of fringe politics.”

Smith, said he has seen people take the movement and use it in ways that are not part of the original meaning. “I’ve seen people using it to accuse politicians of pedophilia and to accuse the government of being illegitimate,” Smith said.

“This has become the focus of the far right,” Smith said. “It’s not to say that there’s not people involved who have a ‘heart-in-the-right-place’ mentality, but this has become—like the health restrictions—an important opportunity to capitalize on people’s justifiable discontent with the government.”

“Whatever happens in this movement, this protest will be a propaganda tool that’s probably used for years.”

Omicron could be the beginning of the pandemic’s end

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it infuriatingly tough to predict the future. But at this point, experts have a pretty good idea of two ways the pandemic could go from here. In her new piece, my colleague Alice Park explores two such scenarios. As she explains, the emergence of Omicron could either suggest that COVID-19 is on the way out and is gradually becoming less deadly—like other viruses that came before it—or that the virus could continue to evolve in more dangerous ways.

The odds aren’t exactly comforting. Jeremy Farrar, president of the global health research foundation Wellcome Trust, predicts there’s only a 40 to 50% chance that Omicron will be the last gasp of the pandemic; the odds aren’t higher because the variant is especially good at evading the immune system, he says. However, as Alice explains, our experience with Omicron proves that there are two very important strategies for getting a handle on the virus: tracking it better and getting as many people as possible vaccinated.

Alice notes that Omicron’s successor could already be circulating, and the world will need to expand surveillance and genetic sequencing in order to detect mutations like those that made Omicron so contagious. Understanding mutations could help scientists improve treatment and vaccination efforts, and officials could use that knowledge to better implement interventions, like geographically targeted lockdowns, to stop dangerous variants from spreading.

The public also has an important role to play in stopping new variants from emerging. By getting vaccinated, people can help prevent the virus from evolving. As Alice writes, “Every variant in the virus’s short two-year history is the direct result of unchecked viral replication, so the surest way to turn COVID-19 from a pandemic into an endemic disease is to shut down as many of those opportunities as possible.”

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