“I can’t work anymore because I can’t cross the border,” complains Csava Vizi, a Windsor trucker, pointing out that he is the sole breadwinner. “I refuse to be vaccinated,” he says, adding that he considers the vaccine dangerous. He parked his truck in front of the Canadian Parliament, just as hundreds of other drivers filled the streets of Ottawa.
The so-called Freedom Convoy began as a rally against mandatory vaccinations for drivers crossing borders. If not vaccinated, they must undergo a two-week quarantine after crossing the border from the United States. Motorists in Western Canada joined a free group that began organizing a race across the country to the capital.
As she moved forward, she gained strength and support. Many protesters, who have long been bothered by Trudeau’s policies, believe the prime minister has exceeded tolerable levels through pandemic measures. The freezing weather did not deter them from protesting – in the province of Ontario, the temperature dropped to minus 21 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
Police initially feared the protests could turn violent. In the capital, the trucks were accompanied by a large group of cars and police. However, the protest was rather quiet and more like a walk through the city, accompanied by honking.
However, for security reasons, Prime Minister Trudeau has left his home in downtown Ottawa, CBC reported. His office said it had not commented on security matters.
“There are fears that the protesters may be led by representatives of extremist organizations of various orientations,” said Bořek Lizec, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Canada. The authorities face several incidents on the monuments, such as the dance of a woman on the tomb of an unknown soldier or the misuse of a statue of the athlete and activist Terry Fox, in whose hands appeared the national flag inverted.
Millions of support
Supporters of protest drivers can be found not only on the road, but also on social media. More than 275,000 people expressed their support on Facebook, about 40,000 found themselves on the Telegram chat application, and more than 70,000 contributions via the GoFundMe crowdfunding platform raised five and a half million dollars. Canadians (about 94 million crowns).
GoFundMe announced earlier this week that it has frozen funds until it agrees with organizers on how to pay out the money. Former Canadian government intelligence analyst Jessica Davis said the “speed and anonymity” of the donations had drawn attention.
“I don’t know how many of those who contribute online are Canadian. A lot of the donations were made anonymously and it’s clear that some of the activity is coming from overseas,” said Jessica Davis, former analyst and head of Insight Threat Intelligence.
Food supply problems
Another problem currently facing Canada has also worsened with the protest. Experts warn that vaccination regulations are just part of the “perfect storm” that will hit the national food system. Trucks play a key role in food transportation, which is hampered by bad weather, highway closures and staff shortage issues in stores.
“Canada’s food system is literally on the back of a truck because of its climate,” said Simon Somogyi, a professor at the University of Guelph who specializes in food trading and supply chain management. . “The supply chain is flexible, but also fragile,” he said of the annual food import from the United States worth 21 billion Canadian dollars (about 360 billion crowns). .
The protest was opposed by the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CCA), which represents about 4,500 carriers, owners and industry suppliers. “We ask the Canadian public to realize that many of the people you see and hear in the media have nothing to do with the freight industry,” the CTA said on Saturday.
The CTA called on truckers who participated in the event to do so calmly and then leave Ottawa. However, protest organizers announced they would stay in the metropolis until the government lifts the vaccination requirement. Driver Csava Vizi commented: “If I have to stay here for two months, I will be here.”
Trump or Musk voiced support
The remote movement has also been backed by former US President Donald Trump and businessman and billionaire Elon Musk. In a speech at a rally in Texas on Saturday, Trump praised Canadian protesters for “bravely standing up to these illegal demands,” while Musk supported the protesters on Twitter.
Truckers have also received immediate support on the smaller social network Gab, where posts expressing support for truckers and hatred of Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau are on the rise.