American groups must stop interfering in Canada

TORONTO (AP) — A former U.S. ambassador to Canada says groups in the United States must stop interfering in what many are calling an occupation in Canada’s capital as protesters opposed to vaccination mandates and COVID-19 restrictions held rallies in cities across the country during a broadcast. of solidarity with a week-long demonstration in Ottawa.

“Under no circumstances should a group in the United States fund disruptive activities in Canada. Period. Full stop,” tweeted Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador under President Barack Obama, on Saturday night.

After crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund or redirect to charities the vast majority of millions raised by demonstrators protesting COVID-19 measures in Canada’s capital, prominent US Republicans like the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis complained.

“It’s a fraud for @gofundme to requisition $9 million in donations sent to support truckers and donate to causes of their choosing,” DeSantis tweeted.

He added that he would investigate these misleading practices and that donors should be reimbursed. But GoFundMe had already changed its mind and said it would refund everyone. GoFundMe said it cut off funding from the organizers because it determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to illegal activity. Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the protests a sit-in.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxon tweeted: “Patriotic Texans have donated to the worthy cause of Canadian truckers. »

In Canada’s largest city, Toronto, police have set up roadblocks throughout the city center, preventing any protesters in trucks or cars from approaching the provincial legislature, which is within five large hospitals. And the police then moved in to clear a key intersection in the city.

Thousands of people again descended on Ottawa on Saturday. Attendees roasted hot dogs and handed out pastries under tarps, while two men on horseback rode through the city, one carrying a flag in support of former US President Donald Trump. Ottawa residents are furious at the incessant honking, traffic disruptions and harassment and fear that no end is in sight.

The “freedom truck convoy” drew support from Trump and many Republicans. “The Freedom Convoy peacefully protests the harsh policies of far-left madman Justin Trudeau who destroyed Canada with senseless Covid mandates,” Trump said in a statement released Friday.

In Toronto, a few hundred health care workers and supporters marched from the University of Toronto to Hospital Row, just south of the Legislature. They were holding signs reading ‘free-dumb’ and ‘N95 masks for all’.

Protesters also gathered in Quebec City, Fredericton and Winnipeg, with rallies also planned in Regina, Edmonton, Vancouver, Victoria and at the US border crossing in Coutts, Alberta.

Police forces in these cities say they have learned from Ottawa’s predicament and have developed strategies designed to protect key infrastructure, such as vital traffic corridors and hospitals, as well as to prevent possible violence. .

Police in Winnipeg, Manitoba have charged a 42-year-old Manitoba man who allegedly drove his vehicle into the group of “freedom convoy” protesters gathered in that city. They said the incident happened on Friday evening and resulted in three men being treated at the scene for minor injuries, while a fourth man was taken to hospital and released. The accused faces multiple counts, including assault with a weapon and dangerous operation of a conveyance.

“He wasn’t really for or against either of the general views,” said Winnipeg Police Service spokesman Cst. Rob Carver.

Many Canadians were outraged by the rude behavior. On Friday evening, some protesters lit fireworks on the grounds of the National War Memorial. A number of them carried signs and flags with swastikas last weekend and compared vaccination mandates to fascism.

Protesters have said they will not leave until all mandates and COVID-19 restrictions are gone. They are also calling for the removal of the Trudeau government, although it is responsible for some of the measures, most of which were put in place by provincial governments.

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