Canadian Anti-Vax Trucker ‘Siege’ Hit With Multimillion-Dollar Lawsuit
A group of fed-up Canadians has filed a $9.8 million class action lawsuit against a mob of anti-vaccine truckers who have packed downtown Ottawa for a week, blasting the ear-piercing air horns of their vehicles day and night.
The rogue drivers’ “Freedom Convoy” began as a protest against the requirement that all truckers crossing the border to or from the United States must be vaccinated against COVID-19, although demands have since expanded.
The use of air horns — for up to 16 hours in a 24-hour period — is a “key tactic” of the protest, and one intended to cause “psychological distress” and “discomfort,” according to the complaint filed Friday with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
For the 6,000 residents in the Centretown neighborhood of Ottawa in the immediate vicinity of the protest, “the non-stop blaring horns have caused unbearable torment in the sanctity of their own homes,” the complaint states.
The filing notes that the horns on semi-trucks emit noise as loud as 150 decibels and are not meant to be used for longer than a few seconds because the sound levels can permanently damage the human ear. The sound level downtown now exceeds limits established by Canada’s Federal Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, the complaint states.
“This is a siege. It is something that is different in our democracy than I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Peter Sloly, chief of the Ottawa Police, said Saturday. Ottawa has considered asking for federal help as similar actions spread to Toronto, Winnipeg, Quebec City and other provincial capitals.
A court hearing on Saturday seeking an injunction to stop the protest was adjourned until Monday.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, the main advocacy organization for the nation’s truckers, and the Ontario Trucking Association have disavowed the protest, the Ottawa Citizen reported. The Trucking Alliance said the vast majority of its members are fully vaccinated and are continuing to work.
GoFundMe on Friday shut down an online fundraising campaign and blocked money raised for the protest because of “unlawful” activities, it said in a statement.
“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity,” the statement added. Money raised will be refunded or redirected to charities.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday said the action had ceased being a protest, and had become an “occupation” — and “unacceptable.”
But leaders of the action have vowed that the trucks won’t leave until mask and vaccine mandates instituted for public health safety are eliminated.
Residents where the protesters are encamped complain of harassment and even assaults. Traffic is paralyzed, stores have closed, and residents are hiding out in their homes.