HomeWorld NewsCanada truckers protest: Injunction granted to stop horn honking

Canada truckers protest: Injunction granted to stop horn honking

Media caption,

Truckers: ‘All we want is the right to choose’

Truckers in Ottawa have been ordered to stop honking their horns in an ongoing protest that has snarled up the city.

The loud and constant blare of truck horns has become one of the defining features of the movement against Canada’s vaccine mandates.

But a judge has now ruled that they be silenced for the next 10 days.

“Tooting a horn is not an expression of any great thought I’m aware of,” said Justice McLean in Monday’s ruling which handed an interim victory to residents.

The presence of hundreds of trucks and their noisy honking had prompted anger among local people and business owners.

The Freedom Convoy protest has spread to several cities and was formed against rules that truckers must be vaccinated to cross the US border.

But it’s now opposed to all kinds of mandates – in parts of Canada you need to show you’re vaccinated to enter indoor venues like restaurants, gyms and bars.

On Monday morning several of them told the BBC they will stay until their demands are met.

Image source, Getty Images

Most of the demonstrators are doing so peacefully but there have been reports of harassment and some have used Nazi slogans to make their point.

A week ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they were an “insult to truth and memory”.

What are the truckers saying?

“Canada has never been stronger. We see a united people that have come together,” said Rand Freeman, a 33-year veteran of the Canadian military told the BBC.

“We know that throughout history, first they ignore you, then they ridicule and mock you, then they attack you, and then you win. We’re entering the attack phase”.

Mr Freeman said he was unconcerned by police warnings that those bringing fuel to protesters in a “red zone” in Ottawa’s downtown could be arrested.

“They need to give the illusion that they’ve won,” he added. “But they know they’ve let that genie out of the bottle and can’t get that genie back in.”

Image source, Getty Images

Trucker Lloyd Brubacher placed the blame on Mr Trudeau and the Canadian government.

“If he dropped all the mandates, all the truckers would go home as fast as we came,” he said. “Ottawa would be an open city.”

Mr Brubacher said he was supporting the protests because he fears his nine-year-old son would grow up “not having the right to choose for his freedom and his rights”.

“All I want is the right to choose between getting the vax or not getting the vax,” he said.

Police said they had made seven arrests and seized “multiple” vehicles of fuel, with 60 criminal investigations so far opened in relation to the protests.

What are residents saying?

Many Ottawa residents say that their patience with the protests has been wearing thin.

Traffic blocked by trucks, city parks taken over by makeshift campsites, harassment and disruptions to businesses are among the residents main complaints.

“Carrying the protest on in the manner it has been, by blocking businesses from operating and earning an income, is unfair to the citizens of Ottawa,” said Stuart, a downtown chef who declined to give his name for fear of “extremists” among the protesters.

He feels that workers and residents in the city’s downtown core are “being punished twice” by the twin impact of the pandemic and the convoy.

“If the protest carries on, it will only hurt hard working-class residents of Ottawa,” he says.

Vita Sgardello, a Ottawa resident, told the BBC: “People I know have been attacked with racist slurs.”

One of her colleagues had to run from a protester who wanted her to remove her mask, she added.

A poll released by Abacus Data at the end of last week found that 68% of Canadians felt they had “very little in common” with the protesters, compared to 32% that said they had “a lot in common” with the truckers.

Image source, Getty Images

Image caption,

Police in downtown Ottawa during weekend protests

What are police doing?

Responding to growing unease from residents, last week Ottawa police announced a new “surge and contain” strategy that saw approximately 150 officers deployed to the city’s centre, as well as a “red zone” of police barricades.

Seven arrests had been made, including three for mischief and one for driving while prohibited.

Over 550 tickets have been issued for excessive noise, fireworks, stunt driving and traffic violations.

On Monday, Ottawa’s police chief called for a surge of 1,800 police officers to the city.

Following police reports of violence last week, GoFundMe announced it would withhold millions of dollars raised for the protesting truckers and asked that donors fill out a request form to receive a refund.

On Monday, however, the crowdfunding platform reversed course and said that “due to donor feedback”, it will automatically refund all contributions directly within seven to 10 business days.

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