Protests Spread Across Canada

Rallies are held in Winnipeg, Quebec City, and Vancouver
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 5, 2022 5:55 PM CST
Protests Spread Across Canada
Protesters stand on the top of a truck parked in front of the Parliament buildings in Ottawa on Saturday.   (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Protesters opposed to vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions held rallies in cities across Canada on Saturday in a show of solidarity with a weeklong demonstration in the national capital. Officials in Ottawa and numerous provincial capitals worked to ensure that the escalating protests remained peaceful, the AP reports. By midday in Ottawa, thousands of demonstrators mingled near open fires on the snow-plastered lawn in front Parliament Hill. Participants roasted hot dogs and doled out baked goods under tarps, while two men on horseback traipsed through town, one carrying a flag in support of Donald Trump. The "freedom truck convoy" has attracted support from Trump and other Republicans in the US.

In Toronto, several hundred protesters gathered on the south side of the Ontario legislature, chanting "Liberté!" as loudspeakers broadcast reggae music. Nearby, a couple of hundred health care workers and supporters marched from the University of Toronto to hospital row just south of the legislature. They held placards reading, "Free-dumb" and "N95 masks for all." Police set up roadblocks throughout downtown Toronto, preventing any protesters in trucks or cars from getting near the provincial legislature. Demonstrators also gathered in Quebec City, Fredericton and Winnipeg, and rallies were planned for Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria, and the US border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.

Police forces in those cities say they have learned lessons from Ottawa's experience and have developed strategies to protect key infrastructure, such as vital traffic corridors and hospitals, and also prevent violence. Protesters have said they won’t leave until all mandates and COVID-19 restrictions are gone. They are also calling for the removal of Trudeau’s government, though it is responsible for few of the measures, most of which were put in place by provincial governments. A lawyer in Ottawa filed a class-action lawsuit against truckers to stop them from blowing their horns at all hours.

(More Canada stories.)

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