Protests against vaccine mandate in Canada getting stronger

People gather to support truck drivers on their way to Ottawa in protest of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 27, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio (Carlos Osorio / reuters)

Police launch criminal investigations into ‘illegal’ acts at Ottawa anti-vaccine-mandate trucker protests

The Washington Post. Police in Canada said “several criminal investigations are underway” into “threatening” and “illegal” behavior that occurred over the weekend during huge protests in the capital, Ottawa, where truckers and thousands of supporters gathered to denounce coronavirus vaccine mandates and other public health measures.

While many protested peacefully, Ottawa police said they would investigate after monuments were defaced and some demonstrators displayed “threatening/illegal/intimidating behaviour to police/city workers and other individuals.”

“Illegal behaviour will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated,” police said.

There were reports of urination on the National War Memorial and desecration of other monuments, including the statue of Terry Fox, a Canadian athlete and cancer research activist, who died in 1981 after dedicating his life to raising funds to cure the disease.

Brad West, mayor of Port Coquitlam, the city in British Columbia where Fox was raised, tweeted that “you don’t touch his statue. Ever.”

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Some demonstrators held signs featuring swastikas. Others angrily called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to quit, chanting in unison on Parliament Hill.

Canada’s minister of defense, Anita Anand, called some of the scenes from Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial “beyond reprehensible,” as footage emerged of protesters dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and screaming “freedom.”

Canada’s chief of the defense staff, Wayne Eyre, said he was “sickened” by scenes of people disrespecting key monuments. “Generations of Canadians have fought and died for our rights, including free speech, but not this,” Eyre tweeted Saturday. “Those involved should hang their heads in shame.”