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Ottawa protesters dig in after Canada invokes emergency powers


OTTAWA, February 15: Protesters in trucks and other vehicles refused to leave the Canadian Parliament despite an emergency order.

They vowed to continue their protest until the government removed vaccine mandates from COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau became the second Canadian leader to invoke The Emergencies Act in Peacetime Monday.

This Act gives the government broad powers and allows it to resolve border blockages that have crippled trade and paralyzed Ottawa.

On Tuesday, a Manitoba border crossing was still blocked. Know More

“We are not leaving. Gord, a Manitoban cross-border truck driver who declined to give his name, said they were not leaving. While parked in front of Ottawa’s Parliament, he stated that emergency powers were “just another scare tactic.”

He spoke in his truck while another protester stopped by to give him breakfast and a rose. He said he wanted the COVID-19 and vaccine restrictions to be dropped and that he and other protesters would stand firm no matter what.

Danny Digenova, a Montreal protestor, stood at the entrance of Parliament and said that he wasn’t concerned about emergency powers. Instead, he would remain until the restrictions were lifted.

After concluding law enforcement was unable to deal with protesters, Trudeau took action, particularly in Ottawa.

“This illegal occupation must end… The measure of success will be: can we get back our supply chains? Can we stop the destruction of the livelihoods of those who depend on trade with the United States? Trudeau told reporters.

According to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, protesters in Coutts (Alberta) planned to end their demonstration on Tuesday morning.

They had been arrested Monday along with 13 others, carrying a cache of weapons and ammunition.

The Ambassador Bridge, a crucial trade route to the United States, was cleared on Sunday. Police say 46 people were taken into custody.

Chrystia Freeland, Finance Minister, announced that several measures were being taken to stop truckers from funding.

She said they could lose their insurance, commercial licenses, and bank accounts.

“I think following the money and then turning it off is probably a smart strategy and not one that’s easy to do.. temporary short term measures that wouldn’t normally work can be put into place,” Jack Lindsay (department chair for applied disasters and emergency studies at Brandon University in Manitoba).

Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier, supported Trudeau’s decision.

Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau (Liberal Prime Minister), was the last to invoke such measures. He took action in 1970 following the kidnapping of a British diplomat and a provincial minister by a separatist group from Quebec.

However, his father was supported by many people. Four provinces opposed Justin Trudeau’s decision claiming that they could handle the protests.

Canadian Civil Liberties Association criticized Monday’s government decision, stating that the standard for invoking the Emergencies Act was not met.


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