An anti-government protest by truckers in Canada has been called off following "multiple security breaches," according to organizers, who also cited "personal character attacks," as a reason for the withdrawal.
Canada Unity, one of the groups that organized last year's so-called Freedom Convoy - during which truckers and others overtook Canadian city streets to protest mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations - has canceled a repeat demonstration planned for February 17 to 20, according to a press release posted to the group's Facebook page.
"As a result of these security breaches that are beyond our control, I cannot in good conscience guarantee Public Safety as I promised, nor can I guarantee other Team Canada Unity Freedom Convoy National Partners that could be deemed as convoy organizers, protection from being charged under Ontario's Bill 100 Act," wrote James Bauder, one of the group's organizers, in a post that has since been removed.
"As a result, the Canada Unity Convoy for Freedom – Freedom Convoy will remain Officially 10-7 until further notice," he continued. For the uninitiated 10-7 is both the CB radio code for Signing off and the Canadian police code for Out of Service.
Bauder didn't provide specifics about the alleged hack and could not be reached for comment. He was among the people arrested in February 2020 after the anti-vaxx and mask protests that shut down Ottawa streets for a month turned violent.
In late December, Bauder announced plans for a second convoy, dubbed "World Unity Convoy," in Winnipeg with a stop in Ottawa beginning February 17. Days later, on New Year's Eve, Bauder called it off.
"There will be no convoy anywhere in Canada be it Ottawa or Winnipeg with my name, with the Canada Unity Freedom Convoy brand," Bauder told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His bail conditions also prohibit him from returning to Ottawa.
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However, other protestors said they still plan to attend the second convoy. "Multiple people and groups are involved. The world unity convoy 2023 is not cancelled," Freedom Convoy attendee Ron Clark wrote in an email to CBC.
Another attendee, Tyson Billings, echoed this sentiment, and said Winnipeg's event is still a go. "I don't know if there's something still going to Ottawa or not," he told the CBC. "But the main convoy — the World Unity Convoy — is about unity and it's about bringing the people together."
And as we enter year three of the COVID-19 pandemic, the convoy may well also be about bringing people together for yet another superspreader event. Because despite public health warnings and, you know, science, the only thing that spreads faster than vaccine conspiracy theories is the virus. ®