In Canada, truck drivers protesting the requirement to have two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine took to the streets in the capital, Ottawa.
Thousands of anti-vaccination truck drivers protested across the country on January 23rd, locking down traffic on intercity and urban roads, while all security services were alerted.
Canadian security forces have moved Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family from their residences amid heightened security concerns.
Drivers who took part in the protest in their trucks, as well as thousands of supporters, gathered outside the federal parliament building in Ottawa.
Despite the extreme cold in Ottawa, which has dropped to minus 35 degrees Celsius, protesters continued to march into the parliamentary district from Friday night, as well as from surrounding cities.
Ottawa police said earlier in the day that the number of protest truck drivers exceeded 2,000, with more than 10,000 people supporting them.
Hundreds of additional police have been deployed to Ottawa from some cities, particularly Toronto, for the action.
Trucks gathered along Wellington Street, adorned with banners denouncing public health measures and Prime Minister Trudeau.
Some have warned that communism will remain in Canada if restrictions on Covid-19 continue, while hundreds of truck drivers honking their horns to announce their presence have caused noise pollution.
The action brought together different groups
An action originally planned to dissuade the federal government from implementing mandatory vaccinations for truck drivers has become a larger action against all public health measures.
The group, many of which are not truck drivers, said they were ready to press the government to end restrictions on the outbreak and return it to “normal.”
Several flags in the crowd reflected the views of different groups calling for an end to repressive rule. The majority of protesters waved Canadian flags, while others carried banners reading “Think For Yourself,” which is used in anti-vaccination circles.
The crowd could see a Confederate flag often associated with racist and far-right elements, while local demonstrators also waved the Mohawk fighter flag and the Metis Nation’s flag.
Call for ‘calm’
B.J. Dicher, one of the organizers of the protest, warned participants to demonstrate peacefully, saying, “If there are threats or acts of violence, we will not achieve our goals. This movement is a peaceful protest and we disapprove of any act of violence,” he said.
Dicher warned protesters not to enter government buildings, disrespect police officers, and behave in a way that escalates the tense situation, and asked that threatening statements never be used in the rhetoric.