'Karma': Indians Get Back at Canada's Trudeau as Truckers' Protest Cripples Ottawa
Truckers from Canada as well as the US have organised themselves into one of the largest-ever convoys, known as the "Freedom Rally". They want Ottawa to roll back its new rules requiring unvaccinated cross-border truckers to be quarantined. Between 75 and 90 percent of Canadian truckers are fully vaccinated, as per Ottawa.
Scores of Indian social media users have mocked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as well as other members of the country's political establishment amid the ongoing nationwide protests by truckers
The truckers are demanding the rollback of vaccine mandates as well as other COVID-related public restrictions.
These truckers and their supporters, numbering in the thousands, laid siege to the country's capital Ottawa for a second straight day on Sunday (30 January), with an organiser warning that the goal was to create a "logistical nightmare" for the Canadian government.
"We're in this one for the long haul. We don't have a time limit", BJ Dichter, who is behind the GoFundMe page that has raised over $9 million CAD to fund the protest, reportedly said at a presser on Sunday.
According to media reports, Prime Minister Trudeau and his family have been moved to a "secret location
" amid fears for their safety.
As these reports emerged, many Indian social media users were quick to remind Trudeau how he had expressed solidarity with the Indian farmers agitating at New Delhi's borders for more than a year.
While the protests in India were underway, Trudeau had stated that his government stood firmly behind the farmers' right to protest
In November, the Indian government ultimately buckled to the demands of the protesting farmers
and decided to withdraw the three controversial farm laws that sparked the demonstrations.
Several Indian social media users said over the weekend that they supported the truckers' protest, the same way Trudeau had lent his weight to India's protesting farmers.
Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, a politician from India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), urged Prime Minister Trudeau to hold a dialogue with the protesting truckers instead of going into "hiding".
"Karma is a boomerang", remarked another social media user.
Indian netizens also used the occasion to roast Indian-origin Canadian parliamentarian Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the New Democratic Party (NDP).
Singh has been critical of the "displays of racism" and "anti-Semitism" seen during the truckers' protests. He had been a vocal backer of India's protesting farmers while the agitation was still on.
Trucker Protests Spark Outrage
The protesters on Saturday vandalised the country's National War Memorial as well as waved "swastika" flags, drawing widespread condemnation from the nation's political and military establishment.
NDP's Singh called out opposition Conservative Party MPs who participated in the protests, as several of them put out statements in support of the anti-vaccination truckers.
While the Conservative Party has refused to endorse the anti-vaccination sentiment espoused by many of the protesters, some of its MPs have still backed their demands.
"Our position is that no one should lose their job for a healthcare decision. Truckers were essential workers for two years during the pandemic, and the government hasn't explained why things need to change", Andrew Scheer, a Conservative Party MP and former leader of the opposition, said.
Scheer is reported to have met the convoy of truckers last week in Saskatchewan while it was on its way to Ottawa, where some of his party colleagues participated in the protest.
Canada's Chief of Defence Staff, General Wayne Eyre, said that those involved in these acts must "hang their heads in shame".
Ottawa Police said in a statement on Sunday that they have launched "several criminal investigations" into the "desecration" of the National War Memorial as well as "threatening behaviour" towards city workers by some members of the convoy.
"Police are aware that many demonstrators have announced their intention to stay in place. This will continue to cause major traffic, noise, and safety issues in the downtown core. We urge all residents to avoid travel to the core", Ottawa Police said in a separate message
to the capital's residents.