Bill Gates TED Talk prompts COVID-19 vaccine opponents to hold protest outside Vancouver Convention Centre

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      Today (April 10), the annual TED Talks conference in Vancouver will begin with something different than in past years—a demonstration.

      That's because opponents of COVID-19 vaccines have been mobilizing for weeks to create a ruckus over the scheduled appearance of billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

      More than 20 groups have come together to urge their followers to descend on the Vancouver Convention Centre for a demonstration between noon and 4 p.m.

      According to various Facebook posts, convoys have been organized from Vancouver Island, the Okanagan, and possibly even Alberta.

      This will test how much pull these groups have in the wake of provincial governments across the country relaxing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

      Gates has been a lightning rod for the movement because of his support for vaccinations. It's made him an arch villain in the minds of many antivaxxers.

      Last December, Gates declared on his blog that disinformation, including conspiracy theories about him, have kept many Americans from taking COVID-19 vaccines, which has delayed the end of the pandemic.

      "We need governments to take action if we’re going to make progress on challenges like avoiding a climate disaster or preventing the next pandemic," Gates wrote. "But declining trust makes it harder for them to be effective. If your people don’t trust you, they’re not going to support major new initiatives. And when a major crisis emerges, they’re less likely to follow guidance necessary to weather the storm."