A group of anti-vaccine protesters has been paralysing downtown Ottawa since they arrived last Friday. They have used a variety of trucks to block the streets and close many businesses, making it difficult for people to get around.
City officials are worried that with tens of thousands more protesters coming to the Canadian capital this weekend, the “Freedom Convoy” is becoming a long-term occupation.
How did this start?
People who drive trucks across the border between the United States and Canada now have to get Covid vaccines. Some truck drivers didn’t like the new rule. They said the government had gone too far.
It grew from there, becoming a bigger protest against Covid restrictions and getting the support of well-known people who have long opposed government efforts to fight the virus.
“Canadian truckers rule,” tweeted Elon Musk last week. Trump, Joe Rogan, and other people have said they support the protesters in Ottawa.
Both sides aren’t giving up.
PM Justin Trudeau said that the country was shocked and disgusted by the way some protesters acted. He has said that he won’t be lifting the restrictions on Covid. As long as he doesn’t, people will keep protesting.
But last night, the Freedom Convoy lost a major source of money. People who organised the protest had raised $10 million on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding site. GoFundMe took the Freedom Convoy off its site because police had reported violence and illegal activity. said it would refund donors and donate the rest of the money that was left.
They want to know what Canadians think about this. A poll was done after the trucks started coming in. Most Canadians said they didn’t like the idea of the protest, but 32 percent said they did. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, an industry group, said that 90% of Canadian truckers had been vaccinated and that the whole industry should “adapt and follow the rules.”
This is how you zoom out: The protests in Ottawa come at a time when countries have taken very different approaches to dealing with a virus that seems to be going away (for now). Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are just a few of the countries in Europe that have announced the end dates for their Covid rules. It isn’t like that in Austria, where everyone over the age of 18 has to get a vaccine now.