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Biden pressures Trudeau to end Canada trucker blockade

Some truckers say they’ll join US protest convoy if one starts rolling US President Joe Biden has urged Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use federal powers to end the blockade of truckers protesting Covid-19 restrictions as the demonstration is reportedly resulting in £1bn losses each day it drags on. Mr Biden’s call to action comes as the protests have spread beyond the capital in Ottawa to border crossings into the US, including the Emerson Port of Entry in Manitoba and the Ambassador Bridge that connects Windsor, Ontario, with Detroit.

The growing demonstrations swiftly struck supply chains, with car manufacturers including Toyota and Ford already announcing issues. The mayor of Windsor says protesters will be physically removed if necessary, and has been joined by auto parts manufacturers in seeking an injunction to clear the bridge. Meanwhile, Mr Trudeau has demanded the protesters go home, and the interim opposition leader Candice Bergen joined his call for an end to the stand off on Thursday morning, while also tabling a motion for the government to produce a timetable winding down pandemic mandates and policies.

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Ottawa councillor condemns government, police

Ottawa councillor Catherine McKenney has criticised local and federal government on Thursday for being “silent” and allegedly failing to act on the “freedom convoy” that has been in the city for more than two weeks.

Ms McKenney, of the Liberal Party, wrote that she received messages including one “from a young man on Bank St who watched as a small mob of thugs surrounded an elderly man wearing a mask on Bank St”, and claimed police did not step in. This has not been confirmed however. “It is this magnitude of individual threats every single day in Centretown (I live a km away and my neighborhood is relatively safe) that is terrorising people who are caught in the middle of it where they live & work.

There is no one keeping them safe right now,” she added. The councillor’s comments came as Ottawa Police said they were focused on “patrolling and addressing unlawful and threatening conduct” from protesters, who have been the focus of more than 413 hate crime reports. Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 13:40


Protesters forced to wear raincoats in Wellington

So called “freedom convoy” protesters in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, have been forced to wear raincoats after the country’s parliament building turned its water sprinkles on.

The protesters, who are inspired by the Canadian demonstrations of the past two weeks, have occupied streets around the New Zealand parliament building for several days now. On Friday the group faced water sprinklers being turned on overnight to stop the protest, although as Stuff News reported, some have tried to stop the spraying by placing traffic cones over the sprinklers. “No one who is here is here legally, and if they’re getting wet from below as well as above, they’re likely to be a little bit less comfortable and more likely to go home,” said the speaker of the New Zealand House, Trevor Mallard.

He added: “Some people have suggested we add the vaccine in the water, but I don’t think it works that way.” Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 13:20


When could the ‘freedom convoy’ end?

The “freedom convoy” of disgruntled truck drivers who crossed Canada to denounce tightening Covid rules have now been blocking central Ottawa for two weeks – and their protest looks no closer to reaching its end. The truckers originally set out on 23 January to express their anger at the loss of vaccine exemption status for cross-border drivers, and the protest has since become a broader, all-purpose expression of anti-government dissent.

So with messages of concern – and support – from the White House and arrests carried out, how long could “freedom convoy” go on for? Joe Sommerlad writes… Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 13:00


‘Freedom convoy’ banned by Paris, Brussels

Paris and Brussels have banned a “freedom convoy” of motorists protesting against Covid restrictions from entering the respective capitals. Hundreds of protesters set out from southern France on Wednesday and plan to converge on Paris and then Brussels to demand an end to coronavirus rules, inspired by truckers in Canada who have gridlocked the capital Ottawa, as Sudip Kar-Gupta writes.

Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 12:40


Paris prepares for copycat convoy

Police in the French capital have moved to prepare the city for the arrival of a copycat “freedom convoy” on Friday, which set out in recent days from the south of the country. Authorities say the convoy has been inspired by the Candian protests against Covid mandates, and has already announced a ban on any blockade of streets in Paris. Here’s an image of “anti-barricade” tractors that Parisian police will use to stop any protest from occupying streets.

Other measures and resources have also been activated ahead of the convoys anticipated arrival. Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 12:10


What else is Ottawa’s police department doing?

The police department for the Canadian capital added on Thursday that it was working with Canadian and international security agencies authorities to “to investigate email-based threats” that were thought to be aimed at disrupting the response to the “freedom convoy”. Ottawa police also said it continued “to collect financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions.” As many as 25 alleged protesters have so far been arrested.

“All available Ottawa Police Service officers remain on active duty,” the department added, with patrols centred around the Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowertown and the ByWard Market areas. Concrete road blocks remain in place. Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 11:45


‘Freedom convoy’ targets third border crossing

The “freedom convoy” of disgruntled long-haul Canadian truck drivers protesting against vaccine mandates has blocked a third US-Canada highway as part of their demonstrations.

“A demonstration involving a large number of vehicles & farm equipment is blocking the Emerson Port of Entry,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Manitoba announced on Thursday. “No traffic is getting through either northbound or southbound. The Port of Entry is shut down.” The port of entry connects the Emerson community in Manitoba, Canada, with the US city of Pembina in North Dakota.

Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 11:20


Police seize vehicles amid crackdown on convoy

Ottawa Police Department has now issued 1,775 tickets to truckers who are protesting Covid mandates in the Canadian capital, and 25 arrests have been carried out – two more than earlier this week. The department said in an update on Thursday afternoon that “the Ottawa Police Service and its partners are continuing to work to put an end to the unlawful demonstrations in the downtown core” and “respond to calls for service”. Among the crimes in connection to the 25 arrests were public mischief, resisting police, and the transportation of fuel – which police warned earlier this week would lead to arrests.

The 1,775 tickets have meanwhile been issued for traffic violations, illegal window tinting, and noise. About a dozen vehicles have also now been seized, the police department said. In total, there are 126 active criminal offence investigations in relation to the demonstration, police said, and 413 reported hate crimes in association with the occupation of downtown Ottawa.

Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 10:55


White House says Canadians ‘engaged around the clock’

On Thursday, the White House said members of president Joe Biden’s cabinet and senior administration staff are now focused on the “freedom convoy” issue, as protests enter their fifteenth day on Friday. A White House spokesperson told Canada’s CBC News that it had numerous conversations with their Canadian counterparts today and that “[They] have been engaged around the clock to bring this to a swift end”. The homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also encouraged his Canadian counterparts on Thursday to intervene in the protests that have shutdown central Ottawa and two US border crossings – bring car manufacturing and other economic activities to a hault.

Gino Spocchia11 February 2022 10:30


US conservatives cheer Canada truckers protest

The ongoing truckers protest in Canada against Covid-19 vaccine mandates has found support among several conservative media figures in the US. Fox News host Sean Hannity cheered the truckers on while showing three live reports from Ottawa this week, reported Associated Press. Tucker Carlson’s online store is also selling “I (heart) Tucker” t-shirts edited to say “I (heart) Truckers.”

According to the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America, Fox News Channel has devoted eight hours and 43 minutes of airtime to the story between 18 January and Wednesday. In a monologue on his show last week, Mr Carlson had said: “The trucker convoy in Canada is pretty cool. People getting together to promote human rights.

Who’s against that?”

Sravasti Dasgupta11 February 2022 10:05

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