Voices of the freedom convoy as it arrives in Ottawa

The freedom convoy slowly rolled into Ottawa on Friday, as truckers and their supporters protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re seeing a whole country united,” said one person on Parliament Hill Friday afternoon.

CTV News Ottawa speaks with some of the people involved in the freedom convoy, supporters of the convoy and Ottawa businesses during the freedom convoy rally in Ottawa.

STEPHANI SCHILL

“We’re not against vaccines, but we do think there should be freedom of choice and we think the mandates should be lifted across the board,” Schill told CTV News Ottawa outside Parliament Hill Friday afternoon. Schill says she is vaccinated.

Unidentified trucker

“It’s okay for the vaccine. It’s not the vaccine the problem, it’s the restrictions of life,” said one trucker in the convoy approaching Ottawa.

Jeff Coleman, truck driver from London, Ont.

“We just want everybody to have a choice, their own freedom, do not want to be any mandates and force anybody to do anything they do not want to,” said Coleman as the convoy stopped in Johnstown, Ont. Friday morning.

“The public outpouring has just been amazing; every overpass and lined up everywhere it’s been great the last two days. If we lose peace and make a mess of things, we’re going to lose all the support we gained.”

Robyn May, Long Point, Ont. business owner

“We’re business owners, we’ve had mandates that we could not open when we were supposed to open. It’s affecting everything. The economy is going down the tubes, we’re not a free country anymore,” May told the Canadian Press on Parliament Hill.

Kenneth Loughren, supporter

“I just wanted to come out, support the truckers coming down fighting for everybody’s freedoms,” Loughren said.

Kelly Mae, supporter

“I’m here to fight for my freedom, my children’s freedom to end the mandates and to end the vaccine passports,” said Mae while standing on an overpass in Prescott.

Troy Springer, convoy supporter

“It is the first positive thing that I have felt since this whole mandate began,” said Springer while waiting for the convoy to arrive in Pembroke, Ont.

OTTAWA BUSINESSES

La Bottega Nicastro

“We just have been told there will be extra protection and just take precautions,” says Pat Nicastro, owner of La Bottega Nicastro in the Byward Market.

“But Saturday is business as usual here. Our staff is going to be here, we’re working. We’ve been told by a couple of groups that have come in and ordered some sandwiches and stuff and we’re here to shop and everything is going to be peaceful and we are not there to make any trouble. “

Moda Hair

“We have talked to officials and they are giving us a 50-50 scenario about how safe it will be,” says owner Vito Decarie, who will close the salon on Saturday. “We decided to make it safe for our clients and ourselves. I just hope my windows do not get crushed.”

Clocktown Brewery

“We do not feel that it’s going to be safe for people here to stay while everything is going on and it’s hard for people to get to work,” said server Riley Phillips, adding the establishment will be closed on Saturday.

Scooteretti

“We are trying to be vigilant. We are trying to keep our storefront secure,” said owner William Leishin, who has closed Scooteretti this weekend.

Leishin says they decided to close because there was “no solid information” about the event or the routes.

“Nobody can give us a solid concrete answer about how many people are coming into town, what routes they’re taking.”

Fernando Cellini Hair Salon

“It was probably going to be challenging for our clients to make it down so we decided to reschedule,” said co-owner Frankie De Caria, who will close the salon on Saturday.

With files from CTV News Ottawa’s Tyler Fleming, Nate Vandermeer, Nathalie van Rooy and the Canadian Press

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