Amid an outpouring of democracy in the streets of Canada’s capital Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into hiding.
On Saturday, thousands of people who were either part of a “Freedom Convoy” of truckers opposed to Trudeau’s vaccine mandate or citizens opposed to heavy-handed government policies converged on Ottawa and the city’s Parliament Hill.
Although Trudeau was whisked away from the spectacle of citizens voicing their opinions, allegedly on the grounds of security, police reported Saturday evening that there were no charges filed against any of the protesters.
A trucker with the Freedom Convoy leads the growing crowd in a round of O Canada at Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 29, 2022
Police reported some statues were adorned with anti-government slogans.
The protest originally targeted mandates that now require unvaccinated truckers who enter Canada from the United States to spend two weeks in quarantine. It has grown over time to include a cross-section of Canadian citizens.
Protesters said that they believed their actions were essential.
“I’ve never done anything like this in my life. I’m 53 years old, and this is the hill I’m going to die on. Do not tell me I have to put something in my body,” Lorraine Commodore, a convoy supporter, said during the protest Saturday, according to CBC News.
Her husband, Mike, said there is a disconnect between the rules and reality.
“How many boosters is it gonna take? Wake up, people. How many boosters? People who’ve taken the two shots, they’re still coming down with COVID-19. They’re still testing positive. So, where’s the science? What science? It’s amazing what government scientists will say when their paychecks depend on it,” he said.
Trump said protesters were “doing more to defend American freedom than our own leaders by far.”
“We want those great Canadian truckers to know that we are with them all the way,” he said.
The Independent: Canada convoy – live: Trump gives shoutout to truckers as Ottawa says ‘no more room for vehicles’ downtown.https://t.co/4gHfrfRNbk
— ? SueCeeQ ????❤!? ? (@SCee57) January 30, 2022
Officials said Trudeau and his family were moved because there was a fear that protesters could leave the main protest area and go to his official residence.
Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly said he has been told the protest will last only through the weekend, but that “the option of [it] going into the week is also still on the table,” CBC News reported.
Prior to running away from the protest, Trudeau had disparaged the convoy.
“The small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views that they are expressing do not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other, who know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values as a country,” he said, according to the Independent.
Trucks rolled into Canada’s capital Ottawa to stage a massive protest against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates in front of parliament https://t.co/dL1vgluXfy pic.twitter.com/3VUmpqu35K
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 29, 2022
Others said the protest had tapped into a spirit of resistance across the country.
“This thing has really taken on a life of its own,” said Jay Hill, interim leader of Canada’s Maverick Party and a former Conservative member of Parliament from Alberta, according to The New York Times.
“The vast majority of the people that have either come on board to participate in the truck convoy or those donating to support it financially have just reached a point of frustration and exasperation with these lockdowns and continuation of restrictions that they want someone to speak up and say ‘enough’ to the federal government.”
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