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Freedom Convoy: Truckers cause chaos in Ottawa after second day of protests

Image source, Reuters

Protesters against a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border have brought Canada’s capital city to a standstill for a second day.

Thousands of demonstrators joined the so-called Freedom Convoy in Ottawa.

Police say they are investigating allegations of illegal activity by some demonstrators, including the appearance of swastika flags.

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Defence Minister Anita Anand said some protesters’ actions had been “beyond reprehensible”.

The Chief of Canada’s Defence Staff, Gen Wayne Eyre, also hit out against some of the demonstrators, saying that he had been “sickened” by footage of a woman dancing naked on the tomb of the unknown soldier.

Ottawa police said in a Twitter post that “several” investigations were now under way into the “desecration” of a number monuments in the capital city, as well as “threatening/illegal/intimidating behaviour to police/city workers and other individuals and damage to a city vehicle”.

Elsewhere across the city, truckers blocked the streets around Canada’s parliament building and Ottawa’s Mayor Jim Watson said some protesters had harassed staff at a soup kitchen, demanding free meals after they were turned away by restaurants for their refusal to comply with indoor mask mandates.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family were also forced to leave their homes in Ottawa over safety concerns on Saturday.

Around 90% of Canada’s 120,000 cross-border truckers are now vaccinated, far above the national average of 79%, but the demonstrators have pledged to continue their protests until the mandate is removed.

Mr Trudeau called the protesters “a small fringe minority” during an interview earlier this week.

But the leader of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole, has expressed his support.

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