Pickups, tractors, and protesters plan to gather in downtown Toronto Saturday afternoon for an anti-vaccine demonstration. Toronto police and city officials are preparing for the planned protest to avoid disruptions similar to those in the Ottawa protests. Protests are expected to start at noon in Queen’s Park.
Toronto police said in a Twitter message Saturday morning that they had increased their presence and continued to close roads in the downtown core. On Friday, some vehicles were already gathering in front of the Royal Ontario Museum, north of Queen’s Park.
At a briefing Friday, Toronto Police Chief James Ramer told reporters that large vehicles would not gather around Queens Park. He encouraged protesters who wanted to protest in Queens Park to go to the staging area and walk there. He also said that anyone trying to block access to nearby hospitals would be subject to strict enforcement.
Parts of University Avenue have been closed to protect the hospital area, police said. The closure will continue throughout the weekend, but the road will be available to hospital staff, patients and those who transport patients.
A group of healthcare workers is planning a counter-protest downtown to ensure protesters don’t interfere with anyone trying to get medical care. Mayor John Tory urged anyone not planning a peaceful protest to “stay home.”
Over the weekend, thousands of protesters, including some truck drivers from the West Coast, demonstrated in Ottawa against mandatory vaccines. On their ninth day, the protests have been dubbed “occupation” by some. Protests also took place in southern Alberta, Quebec City, and Winnipeg.
In the past few days, the Canadian police have dispatched many police forces to deal with the demonstrations of cross-border truck drivers in many parts of the country. In the US-Canada border area in Alberta, the police successfully persuaded the trucks blocking the road to leave.
However, demonstrations in other areas continued, including in the capital Ottawa, where police said their vans were still blocking local traffic, even as the number of demonstrators fell to just a few hundred from an estimated 15,000 as high as last Saturday.
This batch of truck drivers is dissatisfied with the Canadian government’s decision on the 15th of last month to force cross-border truck drivers to be vaccinated against the new crown before entering Canada.
Federal Transportation Minister said that implementing mandatory vaccination policy for cross-border truck drivers is mainly to help the economy regain momentum and further protect Canadians. The parade in Ottawa will be very unstable, and some of the participants will advocate extremists and advocate violence and hatred.
Police detained three people during the demonstrations and investigated 25 other suspected violations. The police also pointed out that it was illegal to block roads in Ottawa and a border town in the protests. Still, they bluntly said that the police force alone might not solve the problem and is considering asking the military to intervene to disperse the demonstrators. Still, they are also worried that doing so may lead to riots.
Members of Congress with constituency offices in the Ottawa constituency have been notified that once a demonstration occurs, all doors should be closed immediately to avoid conflicts with demonstrators. Ottawa Mayor said that demonstrators have the right to hold rallies and promote unique ideas. Still, they cannot block traffic and stop emergency service convoys.
On the other hand, MPs from Canada’s opposition Conservative Party voted 73 in favour and 45 against and passed the replacement of leader O’Toole. O’Toole has a moderate stance. In the controversy over mandatory vaccinations, he was unwilling to support anti-vaccine demonstrations, causing dissatisfaction among conservatives in the party.
Some analysts believe that O’Toole’s departure will make the Conservative Party’s position significantly to the right. Still, Canadian voters often do not agree with the radical line, which in disguise weakens the Conservative Party’s chances of returning to power.