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    Here’s why thousands of truckers protest in Canada against vaccine rule

    Here’s why thousands of truckers protest in Canada against vaccine rule

    Here’s why thousands of truckers protest in Canada against vaccine rule
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    By CNBCTV18.com  IST (Published)

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    Known as the Freedom Convoy, truckers are protesting the new rule by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government earlier this month that makes it mandatory for unvaccinated Canadian truckers crossing the border to quarantine once they return home.

    Thousands of truckers accompanied by other protestors descended on the streets of central Ottawa on January 29 to protest against the vaccine and other COVID-19 health mandates for those crossing the US borders.
    Known as the Freedom Convoy, truckers are protesting the new measure implemented by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government earlier this month that makes it mandatory for unvaccinated Canadian truckers crossing the border to quarantine once they return home.
    Why are they protesting?
    Thousands joined the truckers on their march, showcasing their discontent not just against the COVID-19 restrictions but also the government’s overreach, including vaccine passports and lockdowns, during the pandemic.
    Both United States and Canada had imposed COVID-19 restrictions for drivers who cross the 9,000-kilometer border in mid-January.
    How did it start?
    Following the implementation of the measures in Canada, a loose coalition of conservative groups and truckers organised a cross-country convoy drive from Vancouver to Ottawa to protest against the vaccination requirement. The movement gathered steam and the original cross-country convoy was soon joined by other protesters enroute the Canadian capital.
    Arriving from different parts of the country, the protesters laid siege on Parliament Hill, the seat of power in the heart of Ottawa, on the weekend.
    The group, which organised itself under the banner Canadian Unity, has raised over Canadian $8.4 million.
    “We are taking our fight to the doorsteps of our federal government and demanding that they cease all mandates against its people,” read a declaration from Freedom Convoy 2022 on its funding page.
    The Canadian Truckers’ Alliance is not part of the protest and has said almost 90 percent of its approximately 300,000 members have been vaccinated.
    What are they demanding?
    Protesters are now demanding not just reversal of the border vaccine mandate but an end to all such mandates nationwide. The protesters plan to camp near Parliament Hill till their demands are met.
    "We want to be free, we want to have our choice again, and we want hope - and the government has taken that away," BBC quoted Harold Jonker, a truck driver and trucking company owner, as saying on January 28.
    Police concern
    Although there were no incidents of violence reported, the police are concerned that some far-right groups may arrive at the national capital to voice their support to the convoy.
    Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly told BBC that the protesters were growing in numbers and "unfortunately they are polarising in nature".
    According to a Bloomberg report, the demonstrations have paralysed traffic in the heart of the city. The Ottawa police have not yet given an estimation of the crowd strength.
    Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family were escorted to an undisclosed location. The PM has been working remotely since one of his children tested positive for COVID-19. At present, the office of the prime minister informed that he was working from somewhere in the National Capital Region, instead of the Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
    Trump’s support
    The truckers’ protest gained unusual amount of attention from outside Canadian borders with former US President Donald Trump, podcaster Joe Rogan and British comedian Russell Brand voicing their support.
    “We want those great Canadian truckers to know that we are with them all the way," Trump told a rally in Texas on January 29. Those protesting for their rights in Ottawa were “doing more to defend American freedom than our own leaders by far”, Bloomberg reported quoting Trump.
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