The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

Rolling Protest

American Freedom Convoy Passes By Sidney


Thursday afternoon, people started to gather at the west side of Sidney.

It had the feeling of something expected, almost supernatural, as the American Freedom Convoy trucks were anticipated.

Early this year, Canadian truckers protested the vaccine mandates in Canada. The protests and blockades were against the COVID-19 vaccine requirement to enter the country. The protest evolved into a protest against COVID-19 mandates in general.

“Many around the world have watched the Freedom Convoy and protest with our Canadian friends to the north. The movement started because truckers were fed up about the unconstitutional mandates and hardships forced upon their people,” Belinda Wright, Media Relations specialist for American Freedom Convoy, wrote on February 23. “Now it's time for all Americans to join with the truckers of the United States to move forward, peacefully and in unity, to get the attention of our governing officials. We are doing this not just for Trucker's freedom but for all the citizens of this great land whose constitutional freedoms have been stripped away with these mandates.”

Groups in the United States started almost a month ago when the American Freedom Convoy — SE Route, was formed on February 11. The route included Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South and North Carolina and Virginia. That group then changed its name to Freedom Convoy to DC, Convoy to Freedom — South Route, Convoy for Freedom — Southwest Route, Freedom to DC — Southwest Route, and on February 13 Freedom to DC — Southeast Route.

By February 27, the name was changed again to American Freedom Convoy SE Route. Numerous people were at the March 3 event west of Sidney displaying flags and waiving drivers.

Zach Wood of Peetz said he attended the convoy's passing because he believes the government is overstepping its authority, has pushed people to the edge.

Dianne Stoutenburg and Roger Anderson, both of Sidney, also were in attendance Thursday. Anderson said he was there in support of freedom and an opportunity to attend a place in history.

“This won't happen again,” said Stoutenburg.

Byron Gillham said he is concerned with the transparency of government.

“I think we've been lied to by our government,” Gillham said.

The convoy stopped in Cheyenne, Wyo., with plans to stop again in Big Springs. Cheyenne County Sheriff Adam Frerichs said the Wyoming Department of Transportation divided the convoy into smaller groups.

The stated goal of the American Freedom Convoy SE is “to restore our freedoms, our civil liberties, and to bring an end to all unconstitutional mandates with legal provisions in place to ensure this will never happen again,” according to the group's Facebook page. The group says it is not about political parties but about a government that has forgotten their oath to uphold The Constitution of the United States of America.

Wright said The American Freedom Convoy is one of at least six organized convoys focused on joining in the District of Columbia area on Monday, March 7. She said the convoy is not just truckers, but also medical professionals, moms and dads, blue collar workers, attorneys, grandparents, business owners and corporate professionals; people from different ethnicities, vaccinated and unvaccinated, various political parties and religious backgrounds. All are unified under one focus, she said: freedom of choice.


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