After a week-long drive across Canada, a convoy of thousands of trucks has arrived in the national capital Ottawa. The truckers protest involving nearly 16,000 drivers was sparked by a vaccine mandate for truckers crossing the US-Canada border. The truckers are protesting the new measure that would require unvaccinated Canadian truckers crossing the two nations’ boundary to quarantine once they’ve returned home.
A coalition of truckers and conservative groups began to organise the cross-country drive that began in western Canada. General public who have grown frustrated with Prime Minister Trudeau’s pandemic measures are supporting the truckers. The protesters have said that they will gather and stay put at downtown Ottawa near Parliament Hill for at least the weekend. Their demands have grown from reversing the border vaccine mandate to ending all such mandates nationwide.
Social media and news footage showed trucks and vehicles snaking along highways cheered on by people on roadsides and overpasses. Canadian police are preparing for potential parallel and counter-demonstrations across the country in support of the truckers demands.
Despite widespread support for the truckers, PM Justin Trudeau has denounced the convoy and the protests as a “small fringe minority”. The protest has received support from Canadian politicians who say it’s become a “symbol of the fatigue and division” felt in the country.
The truckers have received support from outside Canada too with podcaster Joe Rogan, Donald Trump Jr and British comedian Russell Brand showing support. Business groups in Canada have said they’re worried the truckers protest will only aggravate existing supply chain issues.