Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday dismissed the idea of using the military to dislodge protesters opposed to mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandates, whose convoy of large trucks is clogging up downtown Ottawa. .
That idea had been raised during a briefing given a day earlier by the city’s police chief, under pressure from neighbors tired of the harassment and the incessant trumpeting.
“Those cards are not on the table right now,” Trudeau told a news conference, adding that governments need to be “very, very cautious before deploying the military in situations against Canadians themselves.”
Since Saturday, the Canadian capital has been besieged by protesters led by truckers who oppose mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations to travel between Canada and the United States.
By midweek, they were down significantly to several hundred from a peak of 15,000 over the weekend, but protesters continued to make a strong case against public health measures.
Trudeau, who is in isolation after contracting Covid-19, said it was up to the local police to deal with them, but added that the federal government is ready to provide support from the federal police and intelligence services.
At the same time, he urged the protesters to go home, saying locals were fed up with the “major disturbance” they were causing.
Although the majority of Canadians (68%, according to an Abacus poll) do not support the protest, it is clear that many are increasingly frustrated by public health restrictions on their daily lives.
In Canada, most of the measures enacted by provincial governments remain highly restrictive, among the toughest in the West, including quarantines, a curfew in Quebec that has since been lifted, and capacity limits on restaurants, bars and other public places.
This coming weekend, the Ottawa protest is expected to escalate again, while similar demonstrations are planned in other cities, including Quebec and Toronto.
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