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A 'Festival' Atmosphere: No Hostilities in Ottawa Amid Canadian Truckers Protest, Resident Says

© ALEX KENTTrucker signs a protestors sign during a rally against COVID-19 on Parliament Hill on January 30, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.
Trucker signs a protestors sign during a rally against COVID-19 on Parliament Hill on January 30, 2022 in Ottawa, Canada.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 12.02.2022
OTTAWA (Sputnik) - The mass protests of truckers and ordinary citizens in the capital of Canada, Ottawa, against draconian COVID-19 restrictions are taking place in an atmosphere of a festival and not accompanied by hostility or violence, resident Yuri Natchetoi said.
The wave of protests across Canada began in January, with tens of thousands of truckers, farmers and other Canadians converging on Ottawa to express strong opposition to vaccine mandates. The protest has since evolved into an anti-government demonstration, with various groups uniting in opposition to the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
On Monday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency for the city due to the ongoing protests.
"The streets are pretty quiet now. There are a lot of truckers who came here and a lot of people supporting them. All the hotels in the city are now full. Many [locals] rent out their basements, attics, rooms. In general, the atmosphere in Ottawa is of a festival. In summer, we celebrate a day of Canada, when a lot of people come to Ottawa, everyone is happy. People walk around with flags, posters. Every fourth car is decorated with Canadian flags. People thus express their support for the convoy," Natchetoi said on Friday.
According to Yuri, the protest has already become massive and covers not only Ottawa, but also other Canadian cities, including Toronto and Montreal. Moreover, it has ceased to be related to COVID-19 restrictions only and became a protest for the rights and freedoms of people in Canada.
Канадские дальнобойщики, поддерживаемые обычными канадцами, едут колонной к Оттаве, протестуя против ковидных ограничений - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.02.2022
Trucker Protests Against Vaccine Mandate in Canada Disrupt Supply Chains, Transport Minister Says
People are frustrated with the government officials because they refuse to begin dialogue with the protesters while their numbers continue to grow, Natchetoi said.
At the same time, the police behave with restraint and do not get into fights with protesters, Yuri said.
"They [government] brought additional police forces from Toronto, Kingston. You can see it by their chevrons. They just stand and keep order and do not crack down on protesters. Last week, they confiscated several cans of gasoline because of the alleged fire hazard but then they stopped doing it after people sued them and people began to voice their outrage over it," Natchetoi said.
Many sympathizers bring food and cook meals for both, protesters and police. One can see policemen and truckers sitting at the same table and drinking coffee without any sharp confrontation between the two sides of protest, according to Yuri.
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