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15 Feb, 2022 01:49

Israel’s own ‘Freedom Convoy’ reaches Jerusalem

Thousands of protesters descended on Jerusalem to denounce Israel’s ongoing Covid mandates, inspired by a similar action in Canada
Israel’s own ‘Freedom Convoy’ reaches Jerusalem

A massive chain of vehicles has jammed up traffic in Jerusalem as thousands of Israelis took to the streets to protest the country’s coronavirus restrictions, taking a note from the ‘Freedom Convoy’ demonstration organized in Canada's capital over ongoing vaccine requirements there.

Long lines of cars could be seen heading for Jerusalem on Monday, reportedly from cities across Israel, in footage circulating on social media. Like their Canadian trucker counterparts, protesters blared on their horns, hoisted banners, and chanted slogans against the Covid mandates, some even carrying Canada’s national flag while doing so.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a group of demonstrators later made their way to the city’s parliament building to continue the protest. Though authorities have yet to confirm the size of the gathering, media reports estimated that thousands of protesters and hundreds of vehicles took part in the action, while activists placed the figure in the tens of thousands.

Though officials have scaled back some of Israel’s Covid restrictions in recent weeks as daily infection numbers continue to decline – including requirements to show proof of vaccination to enter certain public spaces – the policy remains partially in place, while mask mandates continue for schools, shops and healthcare facilities.

The mobile protest closely mirrors demonstrations staged across Canada in recent weeks, where a convoy of long-haul truck drivers has gathered to denounce cross-border vaccination requirements for those traveling between Canada and the United States. Despite repeated orders to disperse, police have been unable to clear away the protesters, prompting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to invoke the country’s Emergencies Act on Monday – a first in Canada’s history. While the PM said he would not unleash the military on the protesters, he has deemed the demonstration an “illegal blockade” that is “disrupting the lives of too many Canadians,” suggesting harsher measures would be used to end the weeks-long action.