Buffalo bound anti-mandate protesters stop in Scranton
A group called the ‘Convoy To Save America’ released a statement to the public announcing that they ‘will send two convoys to the U.S.- Canadian border at the Peace Bridge’ in Buffalo, N.Y. this weekend
A small group travelling from New York City to Buffalo as part of the “Freedom Convoy” stopping for supporters and supplies in Scranton, PA on 2/11/22. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]
By Daniella Heminghaus
SCRANTON, Pa. – A convoy headed for Buffalo to aid those taking part in the “Convoy to Ottawa” truck protests stopped in Scranton to pick up additional supporters and donations Friday.
The protests in Canada against COVID-19 mandates have been disrupting North American supply lines for weeks now. Most recently with the Ambassador Bridge, a pivotal border crossing for U.S.-Canadian trade, connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, which closed to Canadian-bound traffic on Tuesday as truckers, and their supporters, blocked off the approach to it a day prior. Since then, truckers shut down two other, smaller border crossings.
The “Freedom Convoy” protests initially started because of the Canadian government’s new rule requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated when crossing the U.S.-Canadian border or face a two-week quarantine. Their convoy quickly gained support on both sides of the border by others protesting COVID-19 mandates, such as vaccinations, mask mandates, and lockdowns.
On Friday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency. Under the order, blocking crucial infrastructure would be made illegal.
The order applies to individuals blocking access and/or movement at any international border crossings, ports, major highways, and airports. Ford said to those protesting in a press briefing that their “right to make a political statement does not outweigh the right of hundreds of thousands of workers to earn their living.”
A group called the “Convoy To Save America” release a statement to the public announcing that they “will send two convoys to the U.S.-Canadian border at the Peace Bridge” in Buffalo, N.Y. this weekend. They also said in the statement that the supporters “will bring supplies to truckers and supporters to help them peacefully assemble in celebration of freedom.” When the convoy made its way to Scranton, there were a total of four people heading to the next stop.
Cat McGuire, who is joining the convoy from New York City, said one Scranton local reached out to the convoy about donating supplies.
“We did get a reach out from somebody who did want to know exactly when we’re gonna be here, we’re gonna leave shortly, because they want to drop off a bunch of supplies. We’re filled up there with supplies [from] people bringing hand warmers, water, just all different kinds of stuff to keep them going up there. They have people who are going to be able to go into Canada to give it to the truckers that are there.”After receiving a few more donation boxes from a local, the convoy of two cars and four people headed out to their next meeting point in Elmira, N.Y. But, before leaving, McGuire also noted: “Nobody wants a mini Ottawa in their town, which is understandable … we kept saying ‘this is peaceful, we don’t plan anything.’ All is part of our right to assemble.”
She said the overall group did initially plan on having a rally on the Peace Bridge, which connects Buffalo to Fort Erie, Canada, but they said the government “shut it down.”
“We’re not going to be able to walk across the Peace Bridge but we are right on the Buffalo side, going to have a rally in support of what’s going on in Canada and here in our country too. Stop the mandates, we will not comply. We have to get rid of all this. And the story is unraveling, the official narrative is unraveling, they’re backing off now and saying ‘well maybe we will not have as many masks …’ In New York, Governor Hochul has backed off from mandating in businesses that we have to wear masks but we have to keep pushing …”
Buffalo news station WGRZ-TV reported that for the past two nights truck traffic at the Peace Bridge had the most back ups, while other crossings looked to be better options. No government on either side looks to have actually shut the crossing down as of Friday evening, but New York State Police have released a statement saying they know of the planned protest and are “preparing.”
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