The massive ‘Freedom Convoy’ of truckers have been joined by thousands of demonstrators bringing Ottawa to a standstill as they protest against Canada’s vaccine mandates.
Other sympathetic truckers have also blocked a border highway into the United States.
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The truckers say that they plan to stay in the capital ‘for as long as it takes’ and until the Canadian government reverses its policy on vaccine mandates.
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President Trudeau and his family remain in hiding.
The Mail Online reports: The chaos clogged the capital’s downtown near parliament throughout the weekend and brought criticism from officials, including Ottawa’s mayor who said residents were ‘prisoners in their own home.’
But the demonstrators say they intend to stay and that their aim is to ‘create chaos’ and a ‘logistics nightmare’ for the Justin Trudeau’s government.
‘Right now, yeah, it’s really cold, but we hang in there, the days are going to get longer and we take this block party and put it into overdrive,’ BJ Dichter, one of the organizers of the Freedom Convoy, said at a press conference. ‘We’re in this one for the long haul. We don’t have a time limit.’
The boisterous protests are now threatening to interrupt business on Monday, with authorities stating that City Hall will remain closed, traffic will be disrupted and some other services stalled.
Canada’s House of Commons plans to be at work on Monday.
‘The House will reconvene at 11am tomorrow, as planned, in accordance with the Standing Orders,’ the Speaker’s office confirmed on Sunday night.
No comment has been made on what security arrangements will be in place with thousands of protesters still on scene.
‘This afternoon, a large presence of police continues throughout the downtown core and the movement of protestors and trucks continues to be managed,’ the Ottawa police said in a statement.
‘These high-risk situations were de-escalated and resolved with no arrests,’ the authorities said, adding that ‘police resources are fully stretched’ in dealing with the obstruction, which appeared to involve hundreds of trucks.
The protest originated last week in western Canada, where dozens of truckers organized a convoy to drive from Vancouver to the Canadian capital to demonstrate against Covid-related restrictions, particularly a recent vaccination requirement for truck drivers crossing the long US-Canada border.
Multiple convoys began arriving in Ottawa on Friday, and were joined by thousands of other anti-vaccination protesters.
In solidarity with the convergence on Ottawa, truckers on Sunday staged what police described as a ‘complete blockage’ of Highway 4 in Canada’s western Alberta province along the US border. The road is a major artery for commercial goods between the nations.
‘As of right now… the port of entry remains open technically speaking, however nobody would be able to get to them except on foot,’ Curtis Peters, a spokesman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta said, noting that some 100 trucks were blocking the roadway.