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Voices of the freedom convoy in Ottawa

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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.

"My body, my choice. I want freedom to do what I want with my body. It's not my employer's job to tell me what to do with my body and it's not my government's job to tell me what to do with my body," said one woman, who said she was a nurse, on Parliament Hill Saturday morning.

"To remove the stupid restrictions. Some are good, but some are too much," said one man about his reason for attending the demonstration.

"Make them hear our voice. We want our country back," said a man on Parliament Hill Saturday morning. "No more lockdowns, no more mandates, kids back to school, nurses back to hospitals, give us back our lives."

"We're fighting for our freedom and liberty, that's what Canada stands for," said an unidentified man. "It's a real shame that they're stripping this little by little."

Colleen Houghton, supporter

"We are here because we oppose the mandates … it's not going to work and it's taking away our freedoms," said Houghton.

"People around the world are looking at us right now and we are doing something that has never been done before and it’s great."

Dan Berkhout, supporter

"I’m here to support all of these people who believe in the same thing that I believe in… that is freedom and to get rid of these mandates that really hinder a lot of people in their life," said Berkhout.

"Solidarity is really important and our hearts are with those gentlemen and women at Parliament Hill."

 Adam Kuzmicz, supporter

"We are here to protest against this thing that’s been happening for the past two years," said Kuzmicz. "We want freedom, we want no masks for schools, we want children to have education again."

Chris Prud'homme

"I don't exactly agree with what they're protesting, they're protesting taking away their freedoms and everything. Their choice is not get vaccinated and they've chosen that so I don't understand what freedoms they're taking away," said Prud'homme.

Nada Girgis, protester on Parliament Hill

"We need to drop the masks, drop the mandates and start living our lives again. Enough is enough," said Girgis. "They keep moving the goalposts and they keep dividing us, and I think as you can see by this crowd that Canadians are frustrated, they're fed up.

"We want our country to come together, we want our children in school, we want our businesses opened, we want to breathe the fresh air that God gave us. Enough is enough."

Chantale, supporter from Quebec.

"I'm here for everybody because we want freedom," said a woman named Chantale who came to Ottawa from Quebec on Saturday.

"The virus is here. I believe the virus, but I don't know it's supposed to stop everything. Take care, yes, go outside, take a vitamin and take care of you."

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 the 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, don't want to be any mandates and force anybody to do anything they don't 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 couldn't 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," said Loughren.

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’re 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 don’t get crushed."

Clocktown Brewery

"We don't 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.

Smudge Beauty Bar

"We're an appointment-based business right now, we just had to kind of make a decision not to subject our guests and our team to that kind of travel anxiety," said owner Mark Migneault, speaking on Newstalk 580 CFRA Saturday morning.

"This just creates a loss for us either way. Clients won't be able to get in, so we won't get the revenues, or our team's going to be at home, so we're paying out the finances. There is no benefit to us, so it's just easier to keep everyone safe."

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

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