Tuesday, May 17

Canada: demonstration of force in Ottawa by truckers against sanitary measures

Canadian flags, “Freedom” signs and slogans against Justin Trudeau: thousands of people and hundreds of trucks blocked the center of the capital Ottawa on Saturday to protest against health measures.

Starting from the grumbling of truckers against the compulsory vaccination imposed to cross the border between Canada and the United States, the movement then extended to broader demands.

“I want all of this to stop, all of this health drift. The measures are now unjustified,” said Philippe Castonguay, 31-year-old entrepreneur.

Coming from northern Quebec, a seven-hour drive from Ottawa, he judges that “the vaccination obligation takes us to a new society for which we have never voted”.

Around, under the offices of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, despite the polar cold, a colorful crowd gathered calmly: families, young people shouting “Freedom” (“freedom”), older people with saucepans.

A little further on, the horns and roaring engines of the hundreds of trucks and pickups that have reached the capital can be heard non-stop.

The Ottawa police (SPO) had indicated that they expected the arrival of eight convoys bringing together a few thousand vehicles and 10,000 demonstrators.

This protest movement started in the west of the country last week: dozens of truckers organized in a convoy rallied Vancouver to Ottawa to protest against health measures and in particular the obligation to vaccinate truck drivers.

Since mid-January, Canada and the United States have imposed vaccination on truckers crossing the border between the two countries, the longest in the world at nearly 9,000 km.

– “End of restrictions” –

“This is all for freedom, not just for truckers. We have to have a choice! We don’t have to get vaccinated to be able to work,” Stephen Penderness, 28, a lorry driver, told AFP. Ontario and unvaccinated.

“I want governments to lift the measures, as is done in other countries. Maintaining the restrictions is useless,” said Angela Bernal, a 67-year-old retired teacher.

Much of the protesters’ anger was aimed personally at the Canadian prime minister, and many protesters are carrying anti-Trudeau signs.

The approaches to Parliament were placed under close surveillance by the police, who nevertheless allowed the crowd to circulate. The authorities had indicated that they feared excesses during this demonstration described as “unique, risky and substantial” by the chief of police, Peter Sloly.

“There will be a small group of people who pose a threat to themselves, to each other and to Canadians,” said Justin Trudeau in an interview with the Canadian press on Friday.

“Canadians are not represented by this very troubling, small but very vocal minority of Canadians who attack science, government, society,” he added.

According to Canadian media, Mr. Trudeau and his family were escorted from their home to an undisclosed location in the Canadian capital.

The elected officials had received calls for caution, after threatening messages on social networks.

Canadian truckers received support from US billionaire and Tesla boss Elon Musk on Thursday, who tweeted: “Canadian truckers deliver.”

To date, 82% of Canadians aged 5 and over have been vaccinated against Covid-19, and more than 90% of adults.

Believing that the “vast majority” of truck drivers are vaccinated in Canada, the Canadian Trucking Alliance, a major industry association, “strongly disapproved” of the event.

Reference-www.rtl.be

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