Trucker protests: Protesters attend rallies across Canada as Covid-19 trucker protests spread
Trucker protests: Protesters attend rallies across Canada as Covid-19 trucker protests spread

Trucker protests: Protesters attend rallies across Canada as Covid-19 trucker protests spread

With persistent and noisy spouting, protesters are demanding that governments at all levels lift their health restrictions, including vaccine and mask mandates, shutdowns and restrictions on businesses and assemblies.

“The whole event has gone beyond mere vaccines, and it’s now about the whole ordeal,” protester James MacDonald told CNN, adding that he has been in Ottawa since last weekend and has no intention of leaving until the health measures are abandoned. .

The “Freedom Convoy” was initially started by hauliers protests one most recent mandate requires drivers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or to face test and quarantine requirements. But others have joined the cause. Protesters reached Ottawa, Canada’s capital, last weekend, and its organizers said protests would continue there and elsewhere if necessary.

During a board meeting of Ottawa Police Services on Saturday, city council members and officials discussed the disruption of local residents’ lives and reports of harassment and intimidation.

Board chair and city council member Diane Deans characterized the protest as an obsession and said it was a riot that was terrorize the residents and was a “threat to democracy”.
Police Chief Peter Sloly said he agreed with Deans’ words and said they summarized what he and his force had been trying to deal with for more than a week. He emphasized this he did not have the resources or mandate to deal with the situation.

“The office that I and my officers swore was never intended to deal with a city under siege, a threat to our democracy, a nationwide uprising driven by madness,” Sloly warned during the meeting, adding, “We do not have sufficient resources to to deal with this situation adequately and efficiently, whilst adequately providing police in this city. ”

Although mostly non-violent, the protests have been noisy and chaotic, with some residents, particularly in Ottawa, saying they feel they are being held hostage by protesters.

“I understand that the police force does not want to intervene directly for fear of violence,” Ottawa resident Jack Krentz told CNN this week, “but it feels like we have become a little alone.”

Several businesses in Ottawa have complained to city officials that they are losing money and customers, and the majority of businesses in downtown Ottawa have been closed for more than a week or have been operating with reduced opening hours.

Ottawa police said they have responded to more than 400 calls for service in connection with demonstrations since they began last week. At least 50 criminal investigations are underway, including 11 involved potential hate crimes.

Manitoba man arrested for allegedly driving into crowd

A Manitoba man was arrested after allegedly driving a vehicle into a crowded protest and beating four people in Winnipeg Friday night, according to a statement from the Winnipeg Police Department.

David Alexander Zegarac, 42, drove through a group of people gathered in Winnipeg’s legislative area as part of the “Freedom Convoy,” police said.

After allegedly hitting the four people with his Jeep Patriot, the suspect fled “at high speeds and passed through a red light,” police said. He was subsequently arrested after a brief fight with law enforcement, police said.

Zegarac faces 11 charges related to the incident, including assault with a weapon, dangerous operation of a means of transportation and failure to stop following an accident, authorities said.

Three of the people affected by the man sustained minor injuries that did not require medical attention, and the fourth person was treated and released from an area hospital, according to Winnipeg Police.

Trucker protests spread to Vancouver, Toronto, Quebec

A protester holds a sign during a protest against mandates related to Covid-19 vaccines and restrictions in downtown Toronto on February 5, 2022.

In Vancouver, five people were arrested Saturday for allegedly contributing to the general havoc as police received reports of “stones and eggs being thrown, cars being kicked and nails being strewn on roadways,” police said. Hundreds of vehicles traveled through the city on their way to the demonstration, Vancouver police said.

The five people were taken into custody and have since been released from custody, police said.

One of them, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen from Washington state, was arrested after officers saw him wearing a balaclava and pulling a cart full of egg cartons. The man had a knife in a sheath tied to his belt and two eggs in his jacket pocket, police said.

“Everyone has the right to peaceful assembly and to express their views, and the Vancouver Police Department is committed to providing a safe environment for lawful protests,” he said. Steve Addison. “Today’s protests attracted thousands of people who feel passionate about their cases. While most protesters were peaceful, some had to be arrested for violent behavior and illegal behavior.”

In Toronto, Canada’s largest city, thousands took to the streets Saturday. And despite efforts by Toronto police, several trucks blocked a major intersection for hours.

Trucks attempting to drive down University Avenue in Toronto are blocked by a police car on Saturday, Feb. 5, during a demonstration in support of a truck convoy.

The police reported problems clearing the way for emergency vehicles close to the protest, and warned in a statement that this was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Quebec City also reported thousands of protesters and hundreds of trucks clogging the streets while residents and visitors tried to enjoy a winter carnival.

While the protests were started by truck drivers, those who have joined them and donated money include many who said they have been vaccinated and have so far complied with public health measures.

“We are asking for freedom, that’s all,” said a couple who attended the protest in Ottawa this week.

Correction: An earlier version of this story omitted the context of a quote from Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly. Sloly agreed with Ottawa Police Services board chairman and city council member Diane Deans’ characterization of the protest as an occupation and a revolt that terrorized residents and was a “threat to democracy.”

CNN’s Keith Allen and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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