‘Freedom Convoy’ sparks Ottawa state of emergency

OTTAWA, Canada (NewsNation Now) — Another weekend of protests and outrage in Canada over COVID-19 vaccine requirements and other government restrictions led the mayor of Canada’s capital city to declare a state of emergency.

Truckers from across the country, in a convoy that started weeks ago, have converged on Ottawa and brought the city to a virtual halt. Residents have been outraged by the behavior of some of the truckers, who carried signs bearing swastikas and set off fireworks at the city’s National War Memorial last Friday.

“Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

At issue is the Canadian government’s restrictions on unvaccinated truckers, with requirements for those who haven’t had the jab to quarantine after returning from the U.S., taking them off the road for periods of time. While that was the beginning, now the protest has grown to encompass all national COVID-19 restrictions.

The protesters have been mostly peaceful, with groups of kids playing hockey and truckers holding signs, but there have been barrages of horns and lines of trucks blocking downtown intersections, along with reports of rowdy behavior such as a woman dancing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, according to the BBC.

An online fundraiser for the truckers was shut down Friday by a crowdfunding website which then refunded all the donations after pressure from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The protesters have garnered support from conservative U.S. politicians, with DeSantis tweeting support and former President Donald Trump speaking out in support of the truckers and against “the harsh policies of far-left lunatic Justin Trudeau.”

Trudeau, who himself tested positive for COVID-19 but says he is feeling fine, says the truckers represent a small fringe minority and asserts that the government will not be intimidated.

Nearly 85% of all Canadians have gotten at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to Health Canada. A little less than 80% of the country is fully vaccinated. Compare that ot the United States where just over 75% of people have recieved one shot and 64% is fully vaccianted, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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