Ottawa, Canada – Canadian long-haul truckers and their supporters, opposed to a government order requiring truckers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the border with the United States, have been protesting in the capital, Ottawa, for nearly two weeks.
But what started as a protest against the vaccine mandate has grown into broader dissent against the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and what is perceived as a tightening of individual rights and freedoms, highlighting the anti-vaccination movement.
While a vast majority of truckers are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protesters have vowed to remain in Ottawa until all COVID-19 restrictions are lifted in Canada.
The convoy – which was organised by known far-right activists, according to the Canadian Anti-Hate Network research group – has paralysed the city centre, while local residents have described it as an “occupation“.
The truckers have effectively paralysed a wide swathe of downtown Ottawa some 1.5km (0.93 miles) long, where most businesses and office buildings remain closed. Dubbed the “Red Zone” by Ottawa police, this section of the city is home to the seat of the federal government, museums, office buildings and prime business real estate.