For more than ten days now, Ottawa, the Canadian capital has been the scene of demonstrations by truck drivers referring to themselves as “The Freedom Convoy.” The movement sparked by the introduction last month of a mandate for truckers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when crossing the US-Canada border has grown into nationwide vaccine mandate protests. It started with a convoy of hundreds of big rigs from across Canada and thousands of people converging on Ottawa and calling for the federal government to resign or be forced out of office.
Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who himself is quarantined after testing positive for Covid-19, has condemned the protesters and refused to meet with them. Residents of Ontario have complained about the mayhem that has engulfed their city and blamed the police for failing to quell the protests. Residents’ complaints range from idling trucks that impede traffic and makeshift wooden structures in city parks to loss of income, fears of harassment, and even violence.
The mayor of Ottawa declared a state of emergency Sunday that will give the city more powers to handle the unprecedented protests. In a statement, Ottawa city authorities hope to reflect “the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.”
Growing support for the protests has been coming from other parts of Canada and even from the south of the Canadian border in the USA. Among the top supporters of the protest is former US President Donald Trump, who promised to welcome protesters on his soon-to-be-launched platform TruthSocial. Meanwhile, the fundraising site GoFundMe has frozen over ten million dollars raised in support of the protests, citing concerns about violence.