Anti-vaccine protesters ‘urinated on National War Memorial’ in Ottawa

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Anti-Vaccine Protesters ‘Urinated On National War Memorial’ In Ottawa Anti-Vaccine Protesters ‘Urinated On National War Memorial’ In Ottawa
A trucker convoy driving to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporter

Police in Canada’s capital said they are investigating possible criminal charges after anti-vaccine protesters urinated on the National War Memorial, danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and used the statue of Canadian hero Terry Fox to display an anti-vaccine statement.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Ottawa on Saturday to protest against vaccine mandates, masks and lockdowns.

Some travelled in truck convoys and parked on the streets around Parliament Hill, blocking traffic.

Many remained on Sunday.


Vehicles of the protest convoy are seen parked on the Sir John A Macdonald parkway leading into central Ottawa on Sunday (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

Ottawa police said officers are also investigating threatening behaviour towards police and others.

“Several criminal investigations are under way in relation the desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox statue,” Ottawa police said.

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Some demonstrators parked on the grounds of the National War Memorial and others carried signs and flags with swastikas, sparking widespread condemnation.

The statue of Fox, a national hero who lost a leg to bone cancer as a youngster, then set off in 1980 on a fundraising trek across Canada, was draped with an upside down Canadian flag with a sign that said “mandate freedom”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retweeted a statement from the Terry Fox Foundation that said “Terry believed in science and gave his life to help others”.

Canada has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Mr Trudeau has said Canadians are not represented by this “very troubling, small but very vocal minority of Canadians who are lashing out at science, at government, at society, at mandates and public health advice”.

Deirdre Freiheit, president of the Shepherds of Good Hope, who run a soup kitchen for the homeless in Ottawa, said several protesters showed up at the soup kitchen on Saturday and verbally abused staff and volunteers while demanding they be served.


Vehicles from the protest convoy block lanes on a road in Ottawa (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

She said some protesters were given food to defuse the situation, and going forward meals will only be given to those who need them.

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The convoy of truckers and others prompted police to prepare for the possibility of violence and warn residents to avoid the city centre.

A nearby shopping centre and drink stores closed early on Saturday and remained closed on Sunday.

The demonstration was initially aimed at denouncing vaccine mandates for lorry drivers crossing the Canada-US border, but the movement has morphed into a protest against a variety of Covid-19 restrictions and Mr Trudeau’s government.

Sitting in his truck, Scott Ocelak said he planned to stay until Tuesday at the latest.

“Everyone’s united and we just needed a spark, and this is the spark that we needed,” Mr Ocelak said.

“We’re all on board and we’re all here together. It’s end all mandates for everybody.”

A new rule took effect on January 15 requiring truckers entering Canada to be fully immunised against coronavirus.


Protesters participating in a cross-country truck convoy gather near Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Saturday (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)

The United States has imposed the same requirement on truckers entering the country.

The Canadian Trucking Alliance said a great number of the protesters had no connection to the trucking industry, adding they have a separate agenda to push.

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The alliance notes the vast majority of drivers are vaccinated.

“People are losing their jobs because they don’t want to get the vaccine. I don’t want the vaccine,” said Eric Simmons, who drove in from Oshawa, Ontario.

Some opposition Conservative legislators served coffee to the protesters and Conservative party leader Erin O’Toole met with some truckers.

The protest also attracted support from former US president Donald Trump.

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