Home / News / World /  Canadian PM Justin Trudeau moved to secret location as anti-Covid rules protests flare-up

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family have left their home in the country's capital and shifted to a secret location after a large-scale protest opposing Covid-19 vaccine mandates converged on Parliament Hill.

Trudeau, who is currently in isolation after a Covid exposure, has defended the Covid-19 vaccination mandate, noting that 90 percent of drivers are already vaccinated.

Hundreds of trucks and thousands of people blocked the streets of central Ottawa on Saturday as part of a self-titled "Freedom Convoy" to protest vaccine mandates required to cross the US border.

Flying the Canadian flag, waving banners demanding "Freedom" and chanting slogans against PM Trudeau, the truckers were joined by thousands of other protesters angered not only by Covid-19 restrictions but by broader discontent with the government.

An enormous clamor rang out as hundreds of big trucks, their engines rumbling, sounded their air horns non-stop.

Among the people were some kids with their kids, elderly and disabled people. Some even carried signs with aggressive and obscenity-laced rhetoric directed mostly at the Canadian PM, according to reports.

Some of the protesters were seen dancing on the prominent war memorial, prompting condemnation from Canada's top soldier Gen. Wayne Eyre and Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand.

‘These measures are unjustified’

"I want it all to stop -- these measures are unjustified," said one demonstrator, 31-year-old businessman Philippe Castonguay, outside the Parliament building.

He had driven seven hours from northern Quebec province to make his feelings known: "The vaccination requirements are taking us toward a new society we never voted for," he said.

Police are on high alert for possible violence after hundreds of protesters flooded into the parliamentary precinct, despite an extreme cold warning.

"I am sickened to see protesters dance on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecrate the National War Memorial. Generations of Canadians have fought and died for our rights, including free speech, but not this. Those involved should hang their heads in shame," General Wayne Eyre tweeted.

Anita Anand also condemned this incident saying this "behaviour we're seeing today is beyond reprehensible."

"The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and National War Memorial are sacred sites for our country. I urge all Canadians to treat them with solemnity, out of respect for those who have fought and died for Canada," she said.

Police said nearly 10,000 people were expected to be on hand by day's end. Media reports say that by Saturday evening the force did not have an official estimate of the crowd's size.

Trudeau said Friday that the truckers' views -- which he described as anti-science, anti-government and anti-society -- posed a risk not only to themselves but to other Canadians as well.

The movement received an endorsement Thursday from Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, who tweeted, "Canadian truckers rule."

To date, 82 percent of Canadians aged five or older have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Among adults, the figure is 90 percent.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance, a major industry group, said the vast majority of the country's truck drivers are vaccinated. It has "strongly disapproved" of the gathering in

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