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Ottawa’s Anti-Vaccine Mandate Protests Spreading Globally

Copycat protests have also sprung up in Australia, New Zealand and France, while truckers in the United States have said they are planning similar demonstrations.
A trucker carries a gas canister with "Freedom of Choice" written on it, as truckers and supporters continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg
A trucker carries a gas canister with “Freedom of Choice” written on it, as truckers and supporters continue to protest coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg

Horn-blaring demonstrations demanding an end to Canadian COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers have caused gridlock in the capital Ottawa since late January. The protests are now spilling to key Canada-United States border crossings and disrupting trade.

Copycat protests have also sprung up in Australia, New Zealand and France, while truckers in the United States have said they are planning similar demonstrations.

How did the protests start?

COVID-19 vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers, imposed in January by Canada and the United States, angered some drivers. They started the “Freedom Convoy” of trucks driving across Canada to Ottawa late in the month. The Canadian Trucking Alliance, an industry group, said it opposes protests on public roadways, however, emphasizing that most Canadian truckers are vaccinated. The protests have broadened to oppose restrictions more generally against unvaccinated people, although provincial governments control these, not the federal government.

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