Thousands demonstrate against COVID restrictions in Canadian capital
Thousands protested against COVID-19 restrictions Saturday in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, reports The Associated Press.
Protestors demonstrated against vaccine mandates, masks and lockdowns, per the AP, with some carrying signs that called vaccine mandates fascist and condemned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his political moves.
One truck carried a Confederate flag, while other protestors bore signs and flags with swastikas on them, according to the wire service.
“I’m locked into my own country right now,” one protestor, who was unvaccinated, told the AP. “I can’t go on a holiday. I can’t go to a restaurant, I can’t go bowling. I can’t go to a movie. You know, these are things that it’s just gotten out of control.”
Trudeau previously called those gathering to protest the country’s COVID-19 restrictions this weekend “a very troubling, small but very vocal minority of Canadians who are lashing out at science, at government, at society, at mandates and public health advice,” per the wire service.
Trudeau was moved to an undisclosed location during the protests and a Parliament security official told lawmakers to secure their homes due to reports that they may be targeted by protesters, according to the AP.
Ottawa residents, meanwhile, were told by police to stay out of the downtown area as authorities prepared for possible violence, per the wire service.
Some protestors sparked outrage by parking at the National War Memorial and by hanging an upside down Canadian flag and a sign saying “mandate freedom” on a statue of national hero Terry Fox.
“Parking on this sacred ground that includes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was a sign of complete disrespect,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson tweeted, noting that the cars parked at the memorial had been removed.
“Both the use of the swastika and the confederate flag are symbols of extreme hate. So very sad to see these symbols anywhere and especially in Canada,” former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman tweeted.
Heyman later posted another Tweet reading, “Regardless of your party affiliation or what country you call home- we all need to stand up against hate. Hate symbols and hate speech shouldn’t be accepted.”
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