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February 14, 2022 2:24 pm
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Israelis Mount Their Own COVID-19 ‘Freedom Convoy’

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

An Israeli “Freedom Convoy” heads towards Jerusalem to protest against restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19, near Ein Hemed, Feb. 14, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun

Hundreds of vehicles drove along the main highway from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday and converged on parliament to protest against COVID-19 curbs in a convoy inspired by demonstrations in Canada.

Other protesters stood on overpasses and at junctions as the so-called “Freedom Convoy” passed by, with banners and Israeli and Canadian flags flying from the vehicles.

“Freedom doesn’t look like this,” read one sign, showing a picture of a girl in a mask.

Outside parliament, protesters sounded horns and beat drums, and called for pandemic restrictions to be lifted.

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“We are all gathered here for freedom. Because for two years already, all this world is going mad because of all the mandates and all the things that don’t let us live as free as we are born,” Jonathan Deporto, 39, said.

In recent weeks, Israel has rolled back requirements to show proof of vaccination at restaurants, cinemas, gyms, and hotels to coincide with a slowdown in daily infections from the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19.

But masks are still mandatory in public indoor spaces, including schools, shops, and medical institutions.

In Canada, the “Freedom Convoy” protests started in the capital Ottawa last month led by truckers opposing a vaccinate-or-quarantine mandate for cross-border drivers. Similar protests took place in France over the weekend.

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