Police investigate ‘illegal’ acts at Canadian anti-vaccine mandate rallies

Speaking at a virtual news conference Monday, Trudeau said he believed that many of the demonstrators did not represent truckers or “the vast majority of Canadians.” He also revealed that he had tested positive for Covid-19

In the days before the protest, Trudeau said that the convoy represented only a “small fringe minority,” and that it’s “important to underline that 90 percent of truckers in this country are vaccinated like close to 90 percent of Canadians,” referring to the percentage of Canadians who have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.

While the protests had been considered largely peaceful, the Ottawa Police Service said in a tweet Sunday that several criminal probes had been launched in connection to the demonstrations.

Specifically, police said they were investigating the alleged “desecration” of the National War Memorial, as well as of a statue honoring Fox, a cancer patient and amputee who gained national fame after launching a fundraising trek across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research.

Fox died of cancer in 1981 before he was able to complete the journey, but he is remembered as a national icon whose campaign has seen millions of dollars raised in his memory.

In photos shared on social media, an upside down Canadian flag could be seen on the statue with a sign that said “mandate freedom.”

Sharing a tweet with an image of the desecrated statue, Brad West, the mayor of Fox’s hometown in British Columbia, Port Coquitlam, condemned the incident, writing: “Whatever your cause, you don’t get to appropriate (Fox’s) legacy and you don’t touch his statue. Ever.”

Police said they were also investigating reports of “threatening/illegal/intimidating behavior to police/city workers and other individuals.”

“Illegal behavior will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated,” the department said, adding that it had “investigative and evidence-gathering teams in place to support the management of the demonstration.”

A number of Confederate flags and flags bearing swastikas were also spotted among the crowds, according to Canadian officials and witnesses, with photos also appearing to confirm the presence of Confederate flags.

‘The ultimate sign of evil’

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told Canadian broadcaster CTV that while not all of those at the rally appeared to express hateful views, those who did should be condemned.

“Some of the images and the voices that we heard come out of that protest were alarming. Canadians saw for themselves. We had swastika flags, we had the Confederate flag, we had voices that called for the overthrow of the government,” Alghabra said. “Canadians saw for themselves that some voices are really disturbing and unacceptable.”

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