Trudeau condemns the demonstration of the "Freedom Convoy" truckers in Ottawa

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada denounced protests against pandemic restrictions over the weekend in Ottawa, chastisi...


On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada denounced protests against pandemic restrictions over the weekend in Ottawa, chastising protesters for desecrating war memorials, brandishing Nazi symbols and stealing food from the homeless. . The protest was the culmination of a group of Canadian truckers and their supporters who drove from Western Canada to Ottawa to challenge government vaccination mandates.

Speaking of self-isolation after he and two of his children have tested positive for coronavirus, Mr. Trudeau said he understood the frustrations of Canadians, exasperated by a pandemic that had wreaked havoc. But he slammed protesters for displaying ‘racist flags’, insulting small business owners, spreading misinformation and, in one instance, going to a homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa. and demand food.

“There is no place in our country for threats, violence or hatred,” he said, adding that the convoy was not representative of a majority of truckers, 90% of whom are vaccinated.

A spokeswoman for Ottawa law enforcement said Monday that police have opened multiple criminal investigations following the desecration of monuments and other threatening behavior during weekend protests in Canada’s capital. .

A loosely organized “freedom convoy” of trucks initially began in response to a regulation requiring truckers returning from the United States to show proof of vaccination. But the protest has become a more general rallying cry of people opposed to pandemic restrictions and Mr. Trudeau.

During the weekend protests, the House of Commons was not in session and many lawmakers were out of town. Some people said they planned to continue protesting when Parliament resumed on Monday, even as the number of protesters dwindled.

The protests dominated social media in Canada and received widespread media coverage. Ottawa police said Monday that 8,000 protesters turned out in downtown Ottawa on Saturday, a small fraction of the number claimed by some convoy participants and organizers. Ahead of the protests, Mr Trudeau called the protesters a “small fringe minority” and said they would not lead his government to overturn the vaccine mandate.

As in much of the rest of the world, Canadians are suffering from pandemic exhaustion after enduring months of truncated lives, illnesses and deaths, closures and closures of restaurants, places of worship and gymnasiums. But in a country with a strong deference to scientific authority and a much-vaunted universal healthcare system, opinion polls have consistently shown strong support for public health measures aimed at containing the coronavirus. Over 77% of Canadians are fully immunized.

Prof. Andrew McDougallassistant professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said the convoy had channeled public frustration over pandemic restrictions but did not represent significant political change in a country where a majority supported coronavirus vaccination.

Although the convoy failed to become a national movement, organizers raised an estimated C$9.2 million, or $7.2 million, on GoFundMe during the group’s trip across the country.

“To the extent that the convoy is anti-vax and anti-science, it is on the fringes of Canadian society,” Prof McDougall said. “This is not the start of a movement but the most extreme manifestation we have seen of frustration with pandemic restrictions.”

One of the main organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” was Tamara Lich, secretary of the relatively new Maverick party, a center-right group that was launched to promote the separation of the three prairie provinces of western Canada from the rest of the country.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who leads the right-wing Saskatchewan Party, referenced Trudeau’s comments last week, suggesting he had misinterpreted the scope of the dissent against case restrictions. of pandemic. “There are strong opinions on both sides on this issue, but neither side is a ‘small fringe minority’ with ‘unacceptable opinions,'” he said. wrote on Twitterquoting Mr. Trudeau.

Candice Bergen, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, wrote on Twitter that Canadians who are fed up with lockdowns “deserved to be heard”.

While the protests were sometimes unruly, the majority of protesters were peaceful. Nonetheless, urine stains were seen on the snow covering the National War Memorial on Sunday morning. Police towed vehicles protesters had parked at the memorial and Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, said protesters had disrespected the country’s war dead.

Many Canadians reacted in disgust after images on social media showed anti-vaccine signs placed on a statue of Terry Fox, a national hero who lost a leg to cancer and died in 1981 at 22 years after crossing half the country to raise funds for cancer research. Protesters were also seen dancing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Good Hope Shepherdsa homeless shelter in downtown Ottawa, said staff members were harassed by protesters who arrived on Saturday and demanded that the shelter feed them.

“Friends, it’s been a tough 24 hours,” read a post about the organization. Twitter Account. “Hassled staff for meals. A service user and a security officer assaulted. Through it all, you have donated and filled our hearts with gratitude.

The Rideau Centera major mall, closed on Saturday after large numbers of protesters who were not wearing masks swarmed the mall and shouted and harassed store workers and security guards trying to enforce the measures of public health.

Residents of downtown Ottawa said online and on the radio that the 24-hour horns from truck drivers, the fumes from idling vehicles and the aggressive behavior of some had them trapped in their own homes.

Some demonstrators carried Canadian flags upside down; at least one flag had swastikas drawn on it.

Some people, who may not have been involved in the convoy itself, had called for an attack on Parliament similar to the January 6, 2021, storming of the United States Capitol. But such calls for violence have been criticized by the organizers of the convoy, as well as by many protesters in the streets.

David Hofmann, an associate professor of sociology at the University of New Brunswick who studies far-right groups, said the convoy was seized by far-right members as a means of recruitment and mobilization.

“This is a small minority of far-right individuals who have slipped into this larger protest in order to gain visibility, cause mayhem and recruit,” he said. “It’s a standard tactic that the far right uses in Canada.”

Ian Austen contributed reporting from Ottawa.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Trudeau condemns the demonstration of the "Freedom Convoy" truckers in Ottawa
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