Canada: State of emergency declared in Ottawa amid protests against Covid-19 mandates
Truck drivers are protesting against vaccination requirements for crossing the border between Canada and the United States.
The mayor of the Canadian capital Ottawa on Sunday declared a state of emergency amid massive protests by truckers against Covid-19 restrictions.
Mayor Jim Watson said that the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.
Thousands of protestors had arrived in Ottawa on the weekend, joining a hundred who had been there since January 29, Reuters reported.
The demonstration had started out in protest against the government’s mandate requiring truckers to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to cross the border between Canada and the United States.
However, it later turned into a protest against public Covid-19 measures and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, according to Reuters.
Earlier, Watson had said that the situation in the capital was completely out of control, according to AFP.
“Clearly, we are outnumbered and we are losing this battle,” Watson had told a local radio station. “This has to be reversed. We have to get our city back.”
On February 3, the police in Ottawa said that there were signs that guns were being brought into the protest, Reuters reported. Earlier, protestors were seen waving the Confederate or Nazi flags and reportedly urinating on the city’s National War Memorial.
The demonstration also attracted support from former US President Donald Trump and other members of the Republican party.
Trump had said that demonstrators were peacefully protesting the harsh policies of “lunatic Justin Trudeau” who had “destroyed Canada with insane vaccine mandates”.
Former US Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman said that no group from his country should fund disruptive activities in Canada.
“Today Canada is unfortunately experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues,” Heyman said in a tweet. “Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies.”
On February 1, Canada Prime Minister Trudeau had said that Canadians were shocked and disgusted by the behaviour of the protestors.
“We’re not intimidated by those who hurl abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” Trudeau had said in a tweet. “We won’t give in to those who fly racist flags. There is no place in Canada for this behaviour.”