Protesters at a convoy rally in Regina harassed journalism instructor Layton Burton, calling him “enemy of the people” and making threats.
Burton, an instructor at the University of Regina journalism school, was at the rally on Jan. 29, 2022 with some of his students who were covering the protest for an assignment.
In a tweet about the incident, Burton said protesters called him slurs and that three protesters chanted, “Lynch him.”
This incident took place during the nearly month-long protest in January and February 2022, which began in Western Canada as an “On to Ottawa” demonstration of truck drivers opposed to vaccination requirements for crossing the Canada-U.S. border. The convoy gathered support from others as protesters drove across the country, arriving in Ottawa on Jan. 28, where police allowed large trucks to occupy the streets around Parliament Hill. Concurrently there were copycat blockade protests at the land border crossings to the U.S. in Windsor, Ont., Emerson, Man., Coutts, Alta. and Vancouver and Surrey, B.C.
Many reporters covering these events were harassed and assaulted by protesters who yelled obscenities, threatened them and accused them of being liars peddling “fake news,” replicating many of the slogans and chants associated with supporters of Donald Trump in the United States. Far-right groups said they hoped the convoy would be “Canada’s Jan. 6,” the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Surrey RCMP said they have begun an investigation into the harassment of the media by conducting interviews with journalists and collecting video about “acts of aggression and intimidation” at a local protest.
After the federal government invoked the Emergencies Act on Feb. 14, large numbers of police broke up the Ottawa occupation between Feb. 18 and 21, arresting 196 protesters and removing 115 vehicles from the streets near Parliament Hill. Police also broke up blockades across the country during the same period of time.