With persistent and noisy horn honking, protesters are demanding governments at all levels lift their health restrictions, including vaccine and mask mandates, lockdowns and restrictions on businesses and gatherings.
“The whole event has gone beyond just vaccines and it is now about the entire ordeal,” protester James MacDonald told CNN, adding he’s been in Ottawa since last weekend and has no intention of leaving until health measures are dropped.
“We do not have sufficient resources to adequately and effectively address this situation while adequately, effectively providing policing in this city,” Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly warned during a police services meeting Saturday.
While mostly non-violent, the protests have been noisy and chaotic, and some residents, especially in Ottawa, said they feel like they’re being held hostage by demonstrators.
“I understand the police force does not want to directly intervene for fear of violence,” Ottawa resident Jack Krentz told CNN this week, “but it feels like we’ve been left alone a little bit.”
Numerous businesses in Ottawa have complained to city officials they are losing money and customers, and the majority of businesses in Ottawa’s downtown core have been closed for more than a week or have been operating with reduced hours.
But it’s not just Ottawa: Toronto, Canada’s largest city, also saw thousands take to the streets Saturday. And despite the efforts of Toronto police, several trucks blocked a major intersection for hours.
Police reported problems clearing the way for emergency vehicles close to the protest, warning again in a statement this was “unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Quebec City similarly reported thousands of protesters and hundreds of trucks clogging streets while residents and visitors tried to enjoy the advent of a winter carnival.
While the protests were started by truckers, those who have joined them and donated money include many who said they are vaccinated and have so far complied with public health measures.
“We’re asking for freedom, that’s all,” said one couple who joined the protest in Ottawa this week.
Source : Nbcnewyork