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11 Mar, 2022 11:31

‘Freedom Convoy’ accused of trying to overthrow government

The protest saw Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoke the Emergencies Act for the first time
‘Freedom Convoy’ accused of trying to overthrow government

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security adviser, Jody Thomas, has accused the anti-Covid-vaccine-mandate ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests of seeking to “overthrow the government” by occupying Ottawa.

Speaking to the Ottawa Conference on Security and Defense on Thursday, Thomas claimed that “there is no doubt” that the organizers of the protest “came to overthrow the government,” with a well prepared demonstration that had supply chains and funding.

The scale of the demonstrations prompted Trudeau to invoke the Emergencies Act for the first time in Canadian history, allowing the government to take extraordinary measures to respond to the protests and seek to disperse the activists after weeks of disruption.

Thomas defended the government’s response to the protesters, which included giving police unprecedented powers to break up the demonstration and freezing the bank accounts of those involved. He claimed the goal of the activists justified the crackdown. “The occupation of Ottawa in and of itself was enough,” she said.

Despite having dispersed the initial protests in the Canadian capital, Thomas accepted that the government has a duty to address the root cause of the problems that sparked the protests with a view to preventing a repeat.

“This is a problem that is not going away and it will require significant rebuilding to understand and to try to resolve,” Thomas said, adding that “domestic, ideologically motivated extremism is here and it is here to stay.”

Criticizing the approach previously taken by the Canadian government, Thomas suggested that officials had previously “lived in the splendid, naive sort of superiority that this was not our problem in Canada,” but that can no longer be ignored after the events of the ‘Freedom Convoy’.

The truckers had blockaded areas near Canada’s parliament to oppose requirements affecting workers moving back and forth between Canada and the US. Nearly 200 people were arrested as police cracked down on the protests, with over 100 facing various charges.