Truckers and protesters against Canada’s Covid-19 mandates block a border crossing. Others tried to take meals to homeless people in Ottawa, shelter says

Some protesters pressured staff at a homeless shelter to give them foodsaid the establishment.
The protests stemmed from the “freedom convoy” of truckers who traveled across Canada for several days before arriving in the capital Ottawa on Saturday. Drivers oppose a recent vaccination mandate requiring truckers entering Canada to be fully vaccinated or subject to testing and quarantine requirements.

Downtown Ottawa remained packed with platforms and cars Monday morning as protesters rallied against Covid-19 mandates and some lawmakers were set to return to Parliament Hill.

But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was not there. On Monday, Trudeau announced that he and two of his three children had tested positive for Covid-19.

Trudeau and his family were quarantined at an undisclosed location, but he had harsh words for those who caused unrest:

“Canadians were shocked and frankly disgusted by the behavior of some people protesting in our nation’s capital,” Trudeau said Monday.

“I want to be very clear: we are not intimidated by those who hurl insults and abuse at small business workers and steal food from the homeless,” he said. “We will not give in to those who wave racist flags. We will not give in to those who engage in vandalism or dishonor the memory of our veterans.”

Shepherds of Good Hope, a homeless shelter and kitchen in Ottawa, said some protesters harassed staff and volunteers for meals.
“Although we are unsure of the exact numbers, the meal requests and verbal altercations continued for several hours during the dinner period,” the center tweeted Sunday.

“Trucks were parked in our ambulance drop zone for almost 12 hours until they were removed and towed with the support of Ottawa Police Services,” the facility said. “Our staff and volunteers faced significant barriers to getting into work.”

Truckers and demonstrators block a border crossing

In western Canada, trucks and cars block the Coutts border crossing, just north of Sweet Grass, Montana, where Interstate 15 is a major trade artery for Canada-U.S. supply chains.

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The critical route is called Highway 4 on the Canadian side.

“Alberta RCMP are asking motorists to continue to steer clear of Highway 4 south of #Lethbridge to the #Coutts border crossing,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Alberta said. tweeted late Sunday.

“Traffic continues to stand still in the NB and SB directions. At this time, no motor vehicles are able to access the border for entry/re-entry,” the agency said.

Those who damaged monuments ‘should bow their heads in shame’

“Several criminal investigations are ongoing regarding the desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox Statue, threatening/illegal/intimidating behavior toward police/city employees and others, and damage to a city ​​vehicle,” said the The Ottawa Police Service tweeted Sunday.
Parked vehicles participating in protest blockades on an Ottawa road on Sunday.

Canada’s defense chief, General Wayne Eyre, said he was “sickened to see protesters dancing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecrating the National War Memorial”.

“Generations of Canadians have fought and died for our rights, including free speech, but not for this,” Eyre tweeted on Saturday. “Those involved should bow their heads in shame.”
A similar denunciation came from the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), a federation of Canadian trucking associations, which had previously said that a large number of protesters in Ottawa appeared to have no connection to the trucking industry. .

“The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the National War Memorial are sacred sites for Canadians,” the CTO said in a statement. “The desecration of these sites was a disgusting act and a disgrace to the soldiers who gave their lives for our country and to the Canadian soldiers who continue to fight for our freedom today.”

The CTO has called Terry Fox, the late athlete and cancer research activist, a “national hero.” The alleged defacing of Fox’s monument was another insult to “the memory of one of the greatest Canadians in our history”, he said.

James Moore, former Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry, retweeted a photo showing the statue holding a Canadian flag upside down and a sign that reads ‘Mandate Freedom’.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called the display “completely unacceptable” and said he had asked for the sign and flag to be removed.

“These kind of stunts from protesters don’t help their cause,” the mayor said.

Police advised people who work in downtown Ottawa to work remotely on Monday.

Not finished yet

Despite freezing temperatures, photos showed supporters joining the convoy of truckers on foot or saluting them with Canadian flags on highway bridges and overpasses.

On Saturday, protesters against Covid-19 mandates gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.
Authorities have reported “multiple instances of disruptive, inappropriate and threatening behavior by protesters” and are aware of the protesters’ intention to remain in place all week, the Ottawa Police Service said.

The agency estimated that the financial costs of policing the protests amounted to more than $800,000 a day.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong name for the shelter which said it faced harassment from its staff and volunteers. They are the Good Hope Shepherds.

CNN’s Dakin Andone, Keith Allen, Chris Boyette and Artemis Moshtaghian contributed to this report.


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