Downtown protest organizers are sticking to the message: All COVID-19 warrants must end
Protesters who remain in downtown Ottawa maintain they will not shift gears and leave the capital until politicians reveal a clear plan for the end of all COVID-19 mandates and restrictions. 19, according to organizers.
At a press conference at an Ottawa hotel on Thursday, co-organizer of the “Freedom Convoy 2022” campaign on GoFundMe, Tamara Lich, said that vaccination mandates do more harm than good.
What started as a protest against “federal government restrictions on truckers’ freedoms” has transformed, she said.
“Our movement has grown in Canada and around the world because ordinary people are fed up with mandates and restrictions in their own lives,” Lich said.
The press conference was the first time organizers have spoken publicly since arriving in Ottawa, kicking off a protest that has now been going on for nearly a week.
Journalists were not allowed to ask Lich questions. The convoy attorney answered two questions regarding the status of the more than $10 million raised in a fundraiser on the GoFundMe website.
The funds were suspended Wednesday as GoFundMe verified that the use of the money complied with the company’s terms of service and all applicable laws and regulations.
The attorney said the group has submitted additional documents to GoFundMe and expects the company to release the remaining funds soon.
Lich, described at the press conference as “the spark that started this fire,” has ties to the federal Maverick party with roots in separatist circles in Alberta.
She described protest participants as “mean” but tired “of being looked down upon and intimidated by our government”.
“No one from the federal, provincial or municipal government spoke to us directly,” she said.
Protesters say they won’t stay longer than necessary
Lich assured residents that protesters “have no intention of staying a day longer than necessary.”
“Our departure will be based on the prime minister doing the right thing,” she said.
Former RCMP officer Daniel Bulford, who said he spoke out publicly against the vaccination warrants before resigning from the force, said the move had no connection to those charged by police with property damage .
He said organizers had contacted local police since early last week and said they had tried to help clear snow in the protest area.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said police have been “dogged” and “patient” in their negotiations with protest organizers, as well as some truckers.
“We have very little ability to negotiate with all aspects of the protest. Multiple stakeholders, actors and organizations are involved in this,” Sloly said at a press conference on Wednesday.
“Many of them had no intention, despite our best efforts to engage in any form of communication, coordination, let alone negotiation.”