Canada: Hundreds of truckers on their way to Ottawa to demonstrate against mandatory vaccination

Eva Deschamps / January 29, 2022

Several hundred Canadian truckers, who have received the support of Elon Musk, converged Friday on Ottawa, the Canadian capital, to participate in a demonstration against mandatory vaccination to cross the Canada-U.S. border. Starting from British Columbia (Pacific coast) to Ottawa (east), the Freedom Convoy, as it has been named by truckers, has continued to grow in recent days. The meeting point is now Parliament Hill, in the heart of the federal capital.
 
We don't want to be forced to get vaccinated, it should be a personal choice, Louise, who came to support the truckers at a stop in the Vaudreuil area on the way to Ottawa, told AFP. Under the cheers of the crowd and blasts of horns, the white-haired retiree said she feared a total loss of her freedom. She is participating in the mobilization to thank the truckers and send a message to the Trudeau government. Whether people are vaccinated or not, that's not the problem. The problem is the obligation, said Tabitha, 26, holding a Canadian flag in her hands. According to her, Canada needs to find its common points and fundamental ideals.
 
Since mid-January, Canada and the United States impose fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to truckers who cross the border between the United States and Canada, the longest in the world with nearly 9000 km. A measure denounced by part of the truckers, supported since Thursday by the American billionaire Elon Musk, who tweeted Thursday: Canadian truckers ensure. This is a national protest. It's going to be large in size and polarizing in nature, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told a news conference Friday, referring to a complex and rapidly evolving situation. Sloly said he could not put a number on the number of trucks or participants, but expects major problems on the roads around the capital and asked the public to avoid travel.
 
Most importantly, law enforcement officials are concerned that there could be outbursts and violence, even though organizers of the movement have indicated that they intend to demonstrate peacefully. Ottawa police have warned that some people may join the movement to incite hatred and violence. Some businesses have gone ahead and closed their doors for the weekend, according to local media. Politicians in the federal capital region could also be targeted, the police chief said. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is currently in isolation after being a case of contact, defended on Wednesday the mandatory vaccination for truckers, recalling that 90% of them are already vaccinated.
 
The comments made by some of the people associated with this convoy are unacceptable, said the Prime Minister, while the leader of the Conservative opposition, Erin O'Toole, announced on Thursday that he would meet some of the truckers. On social networks, some members of the far right have made threatening comments and called for an imitation of the Capitol assault, in reference to the attack on the American Congress in January 2021. The Canadian police fear that the truckers' mobilization will extend beyond the weekend. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, a major industry association, said it strongly disapproved of the protest, saying the vast majority of truck drivers in Canada are inoculated.
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