As many as 600 truckers are expected to arrive in Ottawa by Saturday as part of a “Freedom Convoy” of long-haul drivers to oppose the Canadian government’s requirement that all cross-border essential workers, including truckers, must show proof of vaccination at a port of entry.
The truckers have been crossing Canada over the past week and morphed into a group that feels any government intervention threatens their freedom of movement or choice, Xinhua news agency reported.
Some far-right elements have emerged, likening the vaccine mandate to the Holocaust and threatening violence, including against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is in a five-day isolation period after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Trudeau said that nearly 90 per cent of truckers in Canada were vaccinated against Covid-19, and that “the small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa, or who are holding unacceptable views that they’re 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.”
Up to 10,000 protesters are expected to gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday where the head of security for the House of Commons has warned Members of Parliament (MPs) to be vigilant, particularly about the potential for doxing, where such personal information as their home addresses in Ottawa could be posted online.
Ottawa police are “planning for a range of potential risks, including – but not limited to – counter-demonstrators, blocking off intersections, interfering with critical infrastructure, and unlawful and violent activity,” said acting Deputy Police Chief Trish Ferguson at a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board on Wednesday.