‘The whole world’s watching’ – Ottawa protesters speak to RT
RT America spoke to several protesters involved in the Ottawa trucker demonstration against Covid-19 restrictions on Monday, as some politicians likened the protest to an occupation that needs to end.
RT America’s John Huddy spoke to truckers at the scene of the protest as it entered its tenth day. While Canadian PM Justin Trudeau argued on Monday that the protest poses a threat to democracy and hinders the economy, Huddy found the scene was more like a family winter carnival than an area under siege, with inflatable castles, dancing, games, and buffets.
Trucker Mike Johnson, who has been parked outside parliament since January 28, told Huddy, “We’re here because individual adults should have the authority over their lives… making their own decisions that’s best for their home, best for their body, best for their kids.”
Protester Kevin Sargent, who claimed he was unable to work or study due to restrictions which require vaccination against Covid-19, told RT that the protest was “the first time in two years” he had “seen an actual future for my children,” while fellow protester Jordon Teal pointed out that the protest was “hard to ignore.”
You can hear them… We’ve got everyone’s attention and the whole world’s watching
Another protester, trucker Chad Fennel, said the demonstration was “one of the most positive experiences” of his life and claimed even police officers were also apparently positive about the situation. However, his perception of the event was in stark contrast to Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly who, in an emergency meeting on Saturday, lamented the lack of resources and authority to “deal with a city under siege.” Speaking at the meeting, Ottawa City Council member Diane Deans went as far as to call the protest “a nationwide insurrection.” “We are on day eight of this occupation. Our city is under siege,” she said.
Ottawa Police have tried, so far in vain, to shut the protest down, issuing over 100 tickets to truckers, suspending licenses, and seizing supplies such as fuel. Police threatened to arrest anyone caught providing the protesters with “material support” on Sunday.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency this past weekend over the protest, calling it a “serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents.”
Speaking to RT, Ontario Provincial Parliament Member (MPP) Randy Hillier disagreed with the government's portrayal of the demonstration as “dangerous,” arguing that such an impression was “a falsehood” and “a pretext” for authorities to crack down on the protest.
“This is a very peaceful, friendly, energetic festival and winter carnival that is happening,” Hillier told RT. “And to purposely distort and fabricate that this is in any means violent or dangerous is wholly reprehensible.”
Hillier claimed the government’s negative portrayals of the protest were intended to provide cover for an effective “coup d'etat against our constitution.”
“It is very difficult for many Canadians to believe that our government would act in such a reprehensible and such a destructive manner,” he said.