Canadian premier calls truckers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandate an ‘occupation’

The premier of the Canadian province of Ontario denounced the truckers protesting the COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other coronavirus protocols, calling it an “occupation” and demanding for it to be ended.

“It’s not a protest anymore. It’s become an occupation,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said, according to The Associated Press. “It’s time for this to come to an end.”

Among the coronavirus protocols that Canadian truckers are protesting is a requirement that those who are unvaccinated undergo COVID-19 testing and quarantine following cross-border travel from the U.S. 

Those protesting the virus protocol organized a march to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, which last weekend saw thousands of protesters, the AP noted. More than 1,000 protesters are anticipated to be back at the Capitol on foot this weekend, in addition to between 300 and 400 additional trucks. 

Other protests are expected in Quebec City and Toronto. 

Other lawmakers have denounced what has been dubbed a “freedom truck convoy.”

“I wholeheartedly and unreservedly deplore and denounce what is happening in Ottawa with the so-called Freedom Convoy right now. Let me be clear: If you wrap yourself in or go about waving a Nazi or Confederate flag, you are declaring yourself a person who embraces hate, bigotry, and racism,” Sen. Dennis Patterson said in a statement, according to the AP.

However, some in the U.S. have expressed their support for truckers, including former President Trump and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who said “Canadian truckers rule.”

“We want those great Canadian truckers to know that we are with them all the way,” Trump said to a rally in Texas late last month, according to CTV News

Canada has not been the only country to grapple with protesting against the pandemic — numerous European nations, like France, have experienced citywide efforts to end coronavirus restrictions and health passes, with some arguing it is an infringement on their personal freedoms. 

Tags Canada COVID-19 Donald Trump Elon Musk mandate

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