The prime minister of Ontario, the epicenter of the protest against health measures against covid-19 in Canada, declared a state of emergency in his province on Friday due to the “illegal” demonstrations that have been taking place for two weeks in protest against the covid pandemic restrictions that began in Ottawa and have spread to other areas of the country.
Of “illegal occupation”, and even of city “under siege” and that has been taken as “hostage” has spoken this Friday the premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, when announcing the declaration of the state of emergency for the whole province.
“Your right to make a political statement does not outweigh the right of hundreds of thousands of workers to earn a living, to live in peace,” Ford said in making the announcement. In it he advanced the adoption of new measures to try to put an end not only to the occupation of downtown Ottawa, where the mayor already declared an emergency five days ago, but also to the action that is blocking the Ambassador Bridge linking Ontario with Michigan, one of the vital points for commercial traffic between Canada and the United States and one of the three totally or partially paralyzed by the truckers.
Ford has warned of “severe penalties” and said there could be fines of up to $100,000 and even criminal charges that could land protesters in jail.
For some in the city, from opposition politicians to ordinary citizens, Ford’s action is welcome but overdue.
Neither Ford’s announcement nor the restrictions still in place in Canada seem, in any case, to be slowing down those who have decided to join the protests. These are expected to increase again this weekend in Ottawa, where more police will be mobilized and marches of citizens tired of the convoy have been organized, but where protesters also promise the arrival of support and “resistance”.
“As long as it takes,” reads written in white letters on the front window of a car that has joined the trucks and vans and is parked, motionless, in the middle of a street in downtown Ottawa, carried by those who claim to be fighting not against the vaccine, (90% of them are already vaccinated) but against absurd mandates and unjustified restrictions.