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Canadian PM Trudeau: Trucker Protest Against COVID-19 Measures in Ottawa 'Has to Stop'


A truck sits near Parliament Hill as truckers and their supporters continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Feb. 7, 2022.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says truckers who are staging a noisy occupation of the capital, Ottawa, over COVID-19 restrictions are trying to

“blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives.”

“It has to stop,” he said Monday in his first speech to parliament since testing positive for COVID-19 in late January. He said the restrictions won’t last forever, adding, “Canadians trust science.”

The protests have paralyzed downtown Ottawa for more than a week.

Anger is growing in Ottawa against the so-called Freedom Convoy, which arrived on January 29 to demonstrate against the government’s mandatory vaccination order for all truck drivers who cross the border into Canada, and have since included calls to end all mandatory mitigation efforts, including mask wearing, lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings. Businesses have shut down and residents have filed complaints about the incessant horn-honking coming from the trucks at all hours of the day and night.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency, and Police Chief Peter Sloly has asked for an additional 1,800 officers to deal with the complaints. A judge for the provincial Superior Court of Ontario on Monday issued a temporary injunction against the truckers over the continuous horn-honking.

Similar protests have occurred in Vancouver and Toronto, as well as at the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing between Canada and the United States that links Detroit, Michigan with Windsor, Ontario.

The protests have attracted the support of conservative politicians in the United States, including former President Donald Trump, who has criticized Trudeau over Canada’s COVID-19 mandates.

There was no immediate comment from Trudeau to Trump’s remarks. The Washington Post quotes Canada’s public safety minister, Marco Mendicino, as saying, “We’re Canadian. We have our own set of laws. We will follow them.”

Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.

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