Canada’s public safety minister said Monday that U.S. officials should stay out of his country’s domestic affairs, joining other Canadian leaders in pushing back against prominent Republicans who offered support for the protests of COVID-19 restrictions that have besieged downtown Ottawa for more than a week.
A day after the city declared a state of emergency, the mayor pleaded for almost 2,000 extra police officers to help quell the raucous nightly demonstrations staged by the so-called Freedom Truck Convoy, which has used hundreds of parked trucks to paralyze the Canadian capital’s business district. The protests have also infuriated people who live around downtown, including neighborhoods near Parliament Hill, the seat of the federal government.
Many members of the GOP have made comments supporting the demonstrations, including Donald Trump, who called Trudeau a “far-left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane COVID mandates” despite encouraging his own followers to get vaccinated and boosted, as he has already done. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton complained after crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund the vast majority of the millions of dollars raised by demonstrators.
Canadian truckers tell me they have no plans on leaving.
— Lisa Bennatan (@LisaBennatan) February 8, 2022
The site said it cut off funding for protest organizers after determining that their efforts violated the site’s terms of service by engaging in unlawful activity. Ontario Provincial Premier Doug Ford has called the protest an occupation.
And of course here’s Alex jones being furious at trump for getting vaccinated and boosted.
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) December 21, 2021
“Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy, and our fellow citizens’ daily lives,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in an emergency debate in Parliament, while the protest continued outside. “It has to stop.” Trudeau said “everyone is tired of COVID-19” but this is not the way. He said the restrictions won’t last forever and noted that Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. “Canadians trust science,” Trudeau said.
"Everyone's tired of COVID, but these protests…are not the way to get through it."
Canadian PM Trudeau responds to protests in Ottawa over COVID-19 restrictions: "A few people shouting and waving swastikas does not define who Canadians are." https://t.co/MVFT1Vl1WT pic.twitter.com/pYuiIRjIIu
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2022
A truck-convoy protest near the Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing between Canada and the U.S., caused long traffic backups along the span from the Detroit side of the Detroit River. And in Alaska, more than 100 truck drivers rallied in support of their counterparts in Canada by driving the 10 miles from Anchorage to Eagle River, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Canada’s Windsor has been congested with trucks in support of the ongoing Freedom Convoy protest, paralyzing traffic completely. pic.twitter.com/V4kDDGbz0T
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2019) February 8, 2022
Protesters have said they will not leave until all vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. They also called for the removal of Trudeau’s government, though it is responsible for very few of the restrictive measures, most of which were put in place by provincial governments.
"Individuals are trying to blockade our economy, our democracy and our fellow citizens' daily lives. It has to stop," said PM Justin Trudeau on the anti-COVID-19 measures protests. "The people of Ottawa – indeed people across the country – deserve to have their safety respected." pic.twitter.com/hPG8tOzAQT
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) February 8, 2022