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Pat King boasted on social media about 'Freedom Convoy' jamming roads, court hears


"Freedom Convoy" organizer Pat King boasted about his role in gridlocking downtown Ottawa and directed protesters to honk their horns in contravention of a court order in a series of videos published on social media during the events.

Those videos were tendered as evidence in his criminal trial Thursday.

King pleaded not guilty to nine charges related to his role in the protest, including a number of allegations that he counselled others to break the law by breaking a court order, with those individuals then committing mischief and intimidation.

The Crown alleges King was a leader with influence in the protest movement, which called for an end to COVID-19 mandates and — in some cases — a change of government from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal minority.

The demonstration saw hundreds of big rigs and other vehicles drive into Ottawa and entrench themselves on the streets, jamming the downtown core for nearly three weeks.

The Crown highlighted King's leadership role by playing a series of videos and livestreams pulled directly from his social media pages.

In one video, King describes his role in co-ordinating the placement of trucks under the cover of darkness and laughs about clogging a major street near the parliamentary precinct.

"We just moved them all...away from the police," King said in a video dated Jan. 31, where he describes stealthily moving 80 trucks into the core of the city.

"We jammed up Kent Street."

"I'm having so much fun. I'm not kidding, I'm having the time of my life."

In an earlier video, he instructed trucks to honk their horns every thirty minutes. Almost on cue, horns began to sound.

In most of the videos, King said the protest was a peaceful demonstration of the demonstrators' rights. He often expressed himself with expletives and other crass language.

The videos demonstrated that he was a well-known figure in the crowd, with many passersby calling out to him, thanking him, offering hugs and even requesting his autograph.

In one video, a woman shouted to King that she drove five hours to Ottawa to join the protest because of him.

At the time of the convoy protest, King's Facebook page had 354,000 followers, Ottawa criminal intelligence analyst Alyson Yaraskovitch testified Thursday.

A video recorded on the third weekend of the protest had 26,000 reactions on Facebook. In that video, King instructed truckers not to move their big rigs out of residential neighbourhoods.

King kept a neutral expression as he watched video after video play over a large television screen in the courtroom.

On Feb. 7, more than a week after the protest began, a judge issued an injunction against excessive horn honking in Ottawa in response to the near-constant noise that Ottawa residents said robbed them of sleep for days.

In a livestream, King told all the truckers to stop honking immediately so they wouldn't get arrested and to "appease" Ottawa residents, but added that the court injunction meant the protest was making a difference.

"Remember, these people haven't slept for ten days," he said, laughing and calling the situation "hilarious."

"It's working beautiful."

The very next day, King put out a new video rescinding his advice to cease the horn honking, and told followers he was "pissed off."

"Honk those horns. Let the heavens hear you," he said.

The Crown is expected to play dozens more videos in court Friday before King's defence lawyer, Natasha Calvinho, has a chance to cross-examine the witness.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2024. Top Stories

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