Paris braces for ‘Freedom Convoy’ (VIDEOS)
Paris police prepared on Friday for the arrival of the so-called ‘Freedom Convoy’ which is due to arrive in the French capital later that same day. The authorities said that “special machines would be utilized” to prevent the demonstrators, who have already been banned from the city, from blocking Paris.
In videos shared online, armored vehicles can be seen arriving around the French capital. Other hardware, including riot vehicles, cranes, and tow trucks are also expected to be deployed, according to local media, citing police sources.
France, gendarmerie armored vehicles arrived in Paris a few hours before the arrival of the Freedom Convoy. pic.twitter.com/WVZBDbuiUU— RadioGenova (@RadioGenova) February 11, 2022
In other footage, police tow trucks can be seen hauling metal fencing while officers position them along Paris’ wide streets.
Some seven truck convoys from different French regions are expected to descend on the capital, reportedly around 8pm local time on Friday. Shortly before their arrival, a meeting location around the city will be announced by the organizers, according to French media.
The ‘Freedom Convoy’ is a response to France’s Covid-19 restrictions, including the continued use of the vaccine pass. The demonstration has been inspired by events in Canada, where truckers convened in Ottawa to protest a cross-border vaccine mandate for drivers, prompting broader activism.
On Thursday, Paris authorities issued an order prohibiting the Canada-style ‘Freedom Convoy’ from the city over the weekend. The ban runs until Monday. Those objecting or hindering road access could face a heavy penalty of two years’ imprisonment and a fine of €4,500 ($5,150).