Organizers hope Canadians nationwide will be joining hands, literally, across the country this Saturday to protest the federal government’s ongoing vaccine mandates.
The Freedom Chain is planned to stretch across the entirety of the country’s Trans Canada Hwy. beginning in Victoria, BC and finishing in St. John’s, NL. The highway is 7,476 km long.
But Kim West challenged a dissenting comment on the original post on the Barrhead Freedom Convoy page who had expressed doubts about whether the Freedom Chain would have any positive impact.
“You will never be successful with the Freedom Chain,” said the dissenter, which West fought back against.
“All I know is that, for sure, if we don’t try, it won’t work. I think we are going to have a result we can be proud of. We will be so darn proud of every single person who showed up — that we did something peaceful to try and inspire solidarity and change in our nation.”
West said these kinds of protests have an important function in the education of the next generation in the context of free speech and peaceful protest.
“During the trip to get there — over five hours drive for us — I will be showing my little daughter that it matters to ‘show up’ and we will make memories along the way,” West said.
Canada’s attempt at an event of this kind is not the world’s first.
On the evening of August 23, 1989, approximately two million protesters in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia joined hands from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius, as a human chain in what is now known as The Baltic Way protest. It drew international attention to the region’s common desire for independence from the then Soviet Union. The chain was 675 km long.
Reuters reported at the time that this momentous gathering drew together a million participants from Lithuania, 500,000 from Latvia and 700,000 from Estonia. It was the world’s longest unbroken human chain in history.
There have been several dozen similar events across the world in the intervening years, and before, most notably the Hands-Across-America charitable fundraiser of 1986 with five million participants. There was also the 1984 Taiwan 228-Hand-in-Hand Rally drawing an estimated three million protesters that was 500 km long and the 2009 ASEAN Agreement Protest in 2009 in Kerala, India with a headcount, according to organizers, of somewhere between three and four million participants.
Ontario has its own Facebook Ontario freedom Chain 2022 page dedicated to the event and details the region’s route via Hwys. 7, 17, and 417 through the province.