“Freedom Convoy” Leaders Face Trial Over “Hold the Line” Rallying Cry

Freedom Convoy in Ottawa on Saturday , January 29, 2022
Freedom Convoy in Ottawa on Saturday , January 29, 2022

“Hold the Line” – A Defining Phrase

OTTAWA – NEWS – Tamara Lich, the prominent figurehead of the “Freedom Convoy” movement, is set to face trial alongside fellow convoy organizer Chris Barber in Ottawa. Their role in the three-week-long protest that disrupted the streets of downtown Ottawa and triggered a national emergency declaration will be under scrutiny.The phrase “Hold the line,” which has now become the title of Tamara Lich’s recently published book, will likely play a pivotal role in their criminal trial. It became a rallying cry and symbol of defiance during the protest’s final days as police attempted to clear the streets around Parliament Hill.

Charges and Accusations

Lich and Barber are co-accused on charges including mischief, obstructing police, counselling others to commit mischief, and intimidation. The core of the case hinges on whether they encouraged protesters to defy police orders to clear the streets and, if so, whether these actions constituted criminal conduct.

Defense’s Perspective

In a joint statement, the lawyers for Lich and Barber emphasized that the trial should not focus on the entire “Freedom Convoy” but rather on whether the actions of two peaceful protest organizers warrant criminal sanctions. Lich herself stated that “hold the line” meant staying true to one’s values in the face of adversity, not encouraging protesters to remain in the capital.

Trial Details

The trial is anticipated to last at least 16 days and is expected to feature numerous social media posts and livestreamed videos by Lich, Barber, and others. Additionally, private text messages exchanged between Barber and Lich, obtained by Ottawa police, will be presented as evidence. A publication ban is in place for messages concerning anyone other than Lich and Barber.

Origins of the “Freedom Convoy”

The “Freedom Convoy” originated from discussions between Chris Barber and fellow trucker Bridgette Belton on TikTok. Initially protesting COVID-19 public health measures, their cause expanded to include opposition to vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers and even calls to overthrow the elected government.

Locked Together, Yet Separated

Following their arrests, Lich and Barber have been prohibited from communicating without legal representation present. Their interactions have been mediated through Keith Wilson, who acted as counsel during the protest.

The Crown’s Strategy
The Crown aims to establish that Barber and Lich worked closely together, so evidence against one will be applied to both in order to support their case.

The Ottawa Protest and Its Global Impact
The Ottawa demonstration garnered international attention as thousands of protesters refused to disperse. It led to the blockade of several Canada-U.S. border crossings, with big-rig trucks creating a winter block party atmosphere in downtown Ottawa, complete with fireworks and even an outdoor hot tub. However, local residents and politicians viewed it as an “occupation,” causing disruptions and fear in the community.

Impact on Businesses and the Community
The protest also resulted in several businesses, including the CF Rideau Centre mall, closing their doors as a precautionary measure. The ongoing blaring of airhorns and the perception of lawlessness left many residents feeling uneasy and trapped in their homes.

NetNewsLedger will continue to provide coverage of this trial as it unfolds.

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