Canadian Police Brace for New Trucker Protests During Weekend
© REUTERS / PATRICK DOYLEFILE PHOTO: Trucks sit parked on Wellington Street near the Parliament Buildings as truckers and their supporters take part in a convoy to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 2022.
© REUTERS / PATRICK DOYLE
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Police in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario said on Friday they are gearing up for a second trucker-led protest against COVID-19 restrictions during the weekend, preparing to maintain public order and ensure unimpeded access to hospitals.
"The Service continues to prepare for weekend protests and there will be a large police presence in and around the downtown core. We have robust plans in place and are speaking with organizers to limit disruption," the Toronto police said on Twitter.
The police warned of road closures amid the protests and stressed that those attempting to disrupt hospital or emergency operations would be held liable.
"We are aware of potential further protests in other parts of the province, including the Greater Toronto Area. As with any major demonstration, local police will take the appropriate action to keep their communities safe," Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said, as quoted by the CTV broadcaster.
The Quebec police have also been put on alert and are currently patrolling the building of the National Assembly, according to the report.
On 29 January, thousands of truckers and hundreds of other demonstrators gathered in Ottawa in protest against the recent COVID-19 restrictions, in particular vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border. The demonstrators believed the restrictions to be unconstitutional.
The protests were generally peaceful. However, the police launched several criminal investigations into a series of incidents, including people jumping on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the desecration of the statue of the Canadian athlete and cancer research activist Terry Fox.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family were moved to a different location from their home in the capital city amid the trucker protest, according to Canadian media reports.