More than a 100 Alaska truck drivers rallied from Anchorage to Eagle River on Sunday to support Canadian truck drivers opposed to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard organized the event to support the truckers who have rallied in Ottawa since last weekend to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Since Jan. 15, truck drivers and other essential service providers are allowed to enter Canada only if they are fully vaccinated. The U.S. required vaccinations from essential non-resident travelers on Jan. 22.
The participants Sunday – including truckers and drivers in personal vehicles – filled the Cabela’s parking lot in South Anchorage before 1 p.m. and started driving to their final destination, the Eagle River Lions Club, after 1:30 p.m. Another convoy drove to Eagle River from the Mat-Su.
“We have to have the shot stamps on our medical cards in order to go out of state, and we don’t want them,” said Jeremy Speldrich, a truck driver with GMG General, Inc. “Mandates should be our choice, whether you want the shots or not.”
[Ottawa declares state of emergency over COVID-19 protests]
A similar event took place in Fairbanks on Sunday and in Juneau earlier this month.
The rally in Eagle River featured an appearance by Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson and Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, who addressed a cheering crowd from the bed of a pick-up truck.
Sullivan said he does not believe the federal government “has the power to look at American citizens and say ‘either you get vaccinated or you get fired from your job.’ He commended the rally participants for engaging in “peaceful protest in defense of liberty” before promising to fight the vaccine mandate in Congress. Sullivan is vaccinated against COVID-19.
U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Tshibaka also participated in the rally, posting a video of herself in the passenger seat of a truck.
”This is really about freedom,” Tshibaka said. “Political leaders shouldn’t push their way into the patient-provider relationship.”Tshibaka, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
Daily News reporter Iris Samuels contributed.