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Court Watches Video of Convoy Organizer Barber Promoting Peace, Encouraging Honking

On the third day of the trial of Freedom Convoy organizers Chris Barber and Tamara Lich, the court witnessed social media footage of Mr. Barber calling for the protesters to be peaceful while also encouraging them to honk their horns if police attempted to remove them.

“We’re representing so many Canadians, the ones that are here physically, the ones that can’t be here physically, the ones that have passed on. So we have to win this. There’s no option for going home without answers,” Mr. Barber said in a video posted to his TikTok account on Feb. 7, 2022, that was shown to the court.

“Be strong, people. No matter what gets thrown at you, remember, like Gandhi, we remember, peace is the only option.”

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Mr. Barber and Ms. Lich are being charged with counselling to commit mischief, counselling to disobey a court order, counselling to obstruct police, and mischief that interferes with the use and enjoyment of property for the role they played in organizing the trucker protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and passports.

Emergencies Act

On Feb. 14, 2022, the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time since the act’s creation in 1988, giving Ottawa greater powers to end the protest, including the ability to ban travel to specified zones and to freeze protesters’ bank accounts.

At the Ottawa Courthouse on Sept. 7, the Crown prosecutors presented videos taken from Mr. Barber’s TikTok account during the Freedom Convoy protest in January and February 2022. The videos had been collected by Ottawa Police Sergeant Joanne Pilotte, who was asked about the content.

In one TikTok video shown to the court, Mr. Barber told protesters on Feb. 7 that he believed police were on their way to Ottawa and that if protest organizers’ phones went “dark,” people should use whatever means you can to come to peacefully protest.”

“You come here and you flood the city,” Mr. Barber said in the video.

In another video, from Feb. 5, Mr. Barber called for “five million people” to come protest in Ottawa, and also said: “Peaceful, please. Peace, peace, peace. Can’t stress that enough.”

On Sept. 5, the first day of the trial, Crown prosecutor Tim Radcliffe had said that the trucker protest was “anything but peaceful” and that Mr. Barber and Ms. Lich “crossed the line” when they encouraged protesters to “occupy” and remain in downtown Ottawa.

In response, defence lawyers disputed the “occupy” label, with Lawrence Greenspon saying, “The true sense of the word has far more serious implications and consequences for the people who have been historically—and for the people who are right now—victims of it.”

‘Grab That Horn Switch’

In several videos shown to the court, Mr. Barber also addresses the incessant honking that took place during the protest.

In one video recorded on Feb. 5 during the daytime, Mr. Barber is seen walking through downtown Ottawa while truck horns are blaring. He yells toward the trucks about a $9.8 million class-action lawsuit that had been brought forward by some Ottawa residents seeking to stop the honking. “Am I doing my part?” Mr. Barber joked before laughing.

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