Canada trucker protests enter third week after crucial US border bridge reopens

Organisers deny reports of an agreement as third week beckons

Gino Spocchia
Monday 14 February 2022 17:55 GMT
Protests over Covid vaccine mandate continue across Canada
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Canada’s capital witnessed a second weekend of protests against Covid vaccine mandates and restrictions as demonstrators continued their effective occupation of the Parliament Hill area.

Authorities said there were more than 4,000 people at the protests in Ottawa on Sunday – more than two weeks after a group of Canadian truckers blocked traffic from moving through the city’s main streets.

They were joined by counter-protesters angry about the two-week long disruption to their daily lives, as well as opposition to the truckers and their supporters – who polls suggest are in the minority.

Most Canadians are already vaccinated against Covid, including 90 per cent of truck drivers, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said last week.

The Liberal Party leader has so far rejected calls to use the military to remove the protestors, who he called a “fringe” group within Canadian society.

On Monday, Mr Trudeau was expected to meet with Canada’s regional leaders and has suggested that “all options are on the table”, after Ottawa mayor Jim Waterson said on Sunday that some form of an agreement had been reached with the truckers.

Tamara Lich, an organiser, told reporters however that “no deal has been made”, despite early signs that protesters would abandon residential streets as well as the Parliament Hill area.

Demonstrators keep warm by lighting a fire outside Canada’s parliament (AFP via Getty Images)

A court order was already in force to stop protesters from honking their horns, and more than two dozen have been arrested for other violations – including driving without a license and resisting arrest.

More than 2,000 have also been issued with notices, and all available officers from the Ottawa Police Department have been assigned to the demonstrations.

A judge on Friday ordered an end to the blockade at the Ambassador Bridge, a crossing that accounts for about a quarter of US-Canada trade, following a week-long blockade of the route.

Around 3,000 trucks remain in the streets of Ottawa, the Canadian capital (AFP via Getty Images)

Police towed away several vehicles and made 25 to 30 arrests, allowing the Ambassador Bridge to reopen to traffic late on Sunday night. Arrests were also made at another crossing between Canada and the US in Coutts.

While the protesters are decrying vaccine mandates for truckers, those supporting the protests have also voiced opposition to other Covid restrictions that are already beginning to be rolled back by Canada’s regional and federal leaders.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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