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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Canada, France and New Zealand: Anger spreads over COVID-19 restrictions

Protests started in Canada in late January by thousands of truck drivers who refused vaccination passes have spread to France and New Zealand, while more voices have been added against health restrictions after two years of prohibition. Activists call for repeat demonstrations in other cities in Europe and the United States.

It calls itself the “Freedom Convoy” and, having recently emerged in Canada, the protest movement is spreading to France and New Zealand. And he has warned that he will soon reach Belgium.

Manufactured by thousands of drivers in trucks and other vehicles, the demonstration began as Justin Trudeau’s rejection of the government’s requirement for truck drivers to cross the land border with the United States to fully fight against COVID-19. Vaccination is required.

Otherwise, these workers will have to submit a test for the virus and isolate themselves. Angered by the mandatory measure, thousands have blocked roads leading to Ottawa, the capital, other Canadian cities, and the border region since last January.

The chaos caused Ottawa’s mayor, Jim Watson, to declare a state of emergency on February 6, and police requested additional agents to deal with the situation that they described as “out of control”.

Thousands of truck drivers and anti-COVID-19 vaccine groups protest against measures to reduce the damage of COVID-19 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 6, 2022. © Reuters/Patrick Doyle

The blockade and the incessant sound of their horns disturbed the residents’ peace until Monday, February 7, Ontario Superior Court Judge Hugh McLean immediately ordered the horns to be silenced, noting that the rumbling noise would be prolonged. There may be -term irreparable hearing loss, but the manifestations continue.

“We are all fed up”

From a basic opposition to vaccination requirements, the truck drivers’ movement turned into a widespread protest against all restrictions related to Covid-19 and the liberal Trudeau government, highlighting the odds of a worldwide pandemic. ,

“We are all fed up,” said the head of state of Quebec, François Legault, who announced he would lift most restrictions related to the pandemic in mid-March and insisted that the number of hospitalizations for the virus is decreasing. ,

About 80 percent of Canadians aged five and older have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. However, recent surveys have shown that frustration with health-related barriers is on the rise.

“I am against wearing a mask, all distancing measures and closing restaurants (…) Vaccination should be a decision between an individual and their doctor, not the government,” said protester John Hawley-Waite. .

According to Canadian police on 9 February, 22 people have been arrested so far and authorities have launched 79 criminal investigations.

After snowballing, Canada’s protests have met with replicas of solidarity abroad, where many, tired of the two-year borders, call for a return to normal independence.

“Freedom Convoy” running in France

Inspired by protesters in Canada, dozens of people riding motorcycles and cars in Nice, France, on Wednesday waved Canadian and French flags to demand an end to restrictions imposed by COVID-19.

Protesters indicated they would come to Paris and then the EU headquarters in Brussels to protest, among other things, rules that bar people from entering public places if they do not have a vaccination pass. ,

“Many people don’t understand why France has a vaccine,” said a man who was helping coordinate the convoy from Nice and who identified himself as ‘Denis’ and declined to give his last name. refused.

“Our job is to tell Europe that implementing a health pass by 2023 is something that most of our fellow citizens cannot understand,” he said.

Just in the past few hours, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said the so-called health passport could be abolished for access to most public places in late March or early April.

Atal said it is expected that “the (health) situation has improved enough to be ready to take up the latest measures.”

Unlike Canada, in France, truck drivers have not yet joined the mobilization. Protesters, including many so-called “yellow vests” who have been showing their dissatisfaction with Emmanuel Macron’s executive policies since 2018, have also begun to meet in cities such as Brest, Perpignon, Lille and Strasbourg. , from where they depart for Paris.

New Zealand: Protesters blockade outside Parliament

Meanwhile, protesters from across New Zealand gathered outside Parliament House in the capital, Wellington, just before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s first speech of the year.

A convoy of trucks and motorhomes blocked the roads near the Legislative Assembly from where they raised their voice against the COVID-19 measures.

Ardern assured that these protests did not represent the opinion of the majority of the citizens of his country. “I think it would be a mistake to portray what we have seen outside as representing the majority in any way. Much of New Zealand’s people have done a lot to keep each other safe,” he said.

Activists hold banners for “Azadi” and pledge to camp outside Parliament until the ban is lifted.

Discontent promises to spread further. Calls to organize similar protests in other cities in Europe and the United States have multiplied on social networks.

with AFP and Reuters

World Nation News Desk
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