These Photos Show What The Freedom Convoy In Ottawa Has Really Been Like

Hot tubs. Pig roasts. Bounce houses. The Freedom Convoy has it all.

Eduardo Lima for BuzzFeed News

A protester stands next to the trucks parked in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, on Feb. 16, 2022.

OTTAWA — For three weeks, Canadians opposed to lockdowns and vaccine mandates have shown the world a new form of protest: occupying a capital city.

Hundreds of vehicles and thousands of people have taken part in the so-called Freedom Convoy, which drove across the country and arrived in downtown Ottawa late last month. They haven’t left since.

They are vowing to stay until Canada lifts all vaccine mandates. In the meantime, they’ve created a giant, perpetual street party. People lounge in hot tubs and eat barbecue food in front of the parliamentary buildings. Children play in bounce houses. There are rock concerts.

Police have been powerless to stop them, stymied by the logistics of how to arrest huge crowds of people and tow countless tons of machinery out.

The protesters see themselves as freedom fighters. To many Ottawa residents, they’re a scourge on their city. Though the demonstrations have not been violent, there have been many reports of verbal harassment. Residents have taken to physically blocking convoy vehicles trying to enter the city.

Now the tension is coming to a head. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared a state of emergency, bringing in new state powers to crack down on the protesters physically and financially. Police reinforcements are surging into the city. No one knows quite what will happen next.

Here are some of the scenes that we saw over the past week.

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Scenes from the third weekend of the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, on Feb. 12, 2022.

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Spencer Bautz, a truck driver from Saskatchewan, and Doug, a truck driver from Mount Forest, inside their trucks in Ottawa, Feb. 16, 2022.

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Three protesters taking part in the "Freedom Convoy" enjoy a hot tub in the middle of Wellington Street in Ottawa, on Feb. 16, 2022.

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Protesters warm themselves around a fire on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Feb. 16, 2022.

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A group of protesters roasts a pig in Ottawa, Feb. 16, 2022.

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Cody, who drove all the way from Nova Scotia to join the protest, shows off a freshly inked tattoo that reads "22: We the Fringe" in Ottawa, Feb. 15, 2022.

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Scenes from the third weekend of the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa, Feb. 12, 2022.

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Organizer Pat King autographs a protester's flag at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Feb. 16, 2022.

Cars and big rig trucks are parked in the street, where a toilet sits in the road with a sign reading "attention police, place all tickets here" with an arrow pointing into the toilet bowl
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Men standing by trucks blocking a street around Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa chat with people inside a big rig, Feb. 15, 2022.

A person standing by a sign reading "take the mask off and smell the bullshit" takes a cellphone image of porta-potties, each with a taped-up sign denoting it as the office of a Canadian politician
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A protester takes a picture of porta-potties placed in front of the prime minister’s office in Ottawa.

Protesters hold signs reading "communism has no home here" and "we love you, freedom truckers"
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Protesters hold signs in front of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, Feb. 15, 2022.

A sign on the back of a big rig truck reads "thank you truckers and your families" with a gas can marked "hope freedom"
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A message thanking the truckers and their families is seen on one of the trucks parked in front of Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, Feb. 15, 2022.

Two people walk with the Canadian and American flags draped across their backs
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A protester draped by a Canadian flag walks with another draped by the American flag in Ottawa, Feb. 16, 2022.

An officer wearing a vest labeled "police" carries a stack of flyers and places on under a windshield beside a big rig with signs posted reading "freedom over fear, no mandates" and "Canada has had enough"
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Ottawa police patrol the downtown streets handing out notices to protesters ordering them to leave immediately or face arrest, Feb. 16, 2022.

A flyer from the Ottawa police is under a windshield wiper where a sign reads "all for freedom, freedom for all"
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Ottawa police patrol downtown handing out notices to protesters ordering them to leave immediately or face arrest, Feb. 16, 2022.

A pile of protest signs express anti-vaccine sentiments
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A pile of posters supporting the "Freedom Convoy" on Ottawa's Parliament Hill, Feb. 16, 2022.

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Workers erect a metal fence on Ottawa's Parliament Hill, Feb. 17, 2022.