Hundreds of people on their feet and in their vehicles packed Stuart Park in downtown Kelowna on Saturday (Jan. 29) to protest COVID-19 restrictions and vaccine mandates.
The sound of honking horns could be heard blocks away as vehicles drove bumper-to-bumper throughout the downtown core. In the park were a couple hundred protests with signs and Canadian flags stating there should be no more mandates and restrictions.
Despite the noise, the protest was under control and peaceful. There were no police on scene.
There was a planned convoy in support of the protest going through the Okanagan today. They started in Vernon at 9:30 a.m. went through Winfield, Kelowna, Peachland and more. They plan on being at the Canada-U.S. border by 3:15.
The protest was smaller in Peachland as a few protesters were gathered by the side of the road as the convoy made it’s way south on Hwy 97. Naomi Miller was one of them.
“Just to witness this is incredible,” she said. “I’ve been crying tears of joy while I’m waving and honking.”
Miller said she fully supports the reasons behind the convoy that rolled across the country to Ottawa.
“We’re told so much stuff over social media,” she added. “We hear there’s not that many (protesters) or there is that many, there are more than they’re saying. I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of cars go by and they’re all honking, and this is just Kelowna. That’s crazy.”
This is not a minority Miller added, as several vehicles drove by with Canadian flags and signs attached. Many of them reading “Mandate Freedom.”
“Are you kidding me,” exclaimed Miller. “Look at this! It shows this is not a minority. “
The main issue for the protest is rules in both Canada and the U.S. preventing unvaccinated people from crossing the border. As of Jan. 29, unvaccinated travellers cannot enter the U.S. and unvaccinated Canadians returning home must produce a PCR test and quarantine for at least 10 days.
Other issues include all vaccine mandates enacted by federal, provincial and municipal governments. Protesters also oppose provincial health orders restricting activities like fitness, indoor dining and gatherings.