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Freedom convoy: Israelis protest Covid rules in Canada-style convoy

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Thousands of Israelis streamed into Jerusalem from across the country Monday in a “freedom convoy” against coronavirus restrictions that mirrored similar traffic-blocking protests in Canada and around the world.

The demonstrators blared their car horns and waved Canadian and Israeli flags as they made their way towards the seat of Israel’s government. Protesters held signs against wearing masks and other coronavirus restrictions. Other activists stopped traffic at junctions and bridges nationwide.

The Jerusalem convoy snarled traffic in a demonstration similar to a massive show of protest in Canada that caused a major US-Canada crossing to be shut for days.

Similar movements have sprung up in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand.

Shany Shlomo, 51, an administrator, said she attended the protest in Jerusalem to speak up against coronavirus vaccines.

“Nobody can tell us what to put into our body,” she said.

Israel was one of the first nations to roll out a national vaccine campaign, with third and fourth booster shots available to offset the vaccine’s gradual decline in efficacy.

Authorities in Israel have loosened restrictions in recent weeks, shortening the list of places where a vaccine pass is required. This comes as runaway infections fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron strain seem to be slowing down.

Last month, some days saw more than 80,000 new Covid cases. Since then, the infection rate has declined, with about 30,000 new cases registered Monday.

Tzvi Shori, 30, a business and law student, said he wanted “to fight for my rights” amid coronavirus restrictions.

“You’re taking and controling and holding us by a very short leash and basically saying ‘no’, now you do what we say,” he said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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