Ottawa has been blocked by trucks for about three weeks. What are the organizers talking about and who are they supporting?
Why? Parts of the Canadian capital, Ottawa, have been blocked by trucks for about three weeks. The “Freedom Convoy” was created as a struggle against the compulsory vaccination of truckers, but soon became a silent struggle against all Govt operations and the government of Justin Trudeau.
Who is behind the convoy? The most important organizers are not the truckers. Tamara Lich, a fitness trainer from the state of Alberta, is the most well-known person. Prior to the protest, he campaigned for a right-wing party aimed at separating Western Canada from Canada.
Of course, real truckers and their concerns are part of the protest, says Barbara Perry, an expert on right-wing extremism at the University of Ontario Tech. The organizers, however, who set the tone, have contacts with the groups on the right. Opposition is expected to attract right-wing extremists, anti-government elements or conspiracy theorists.
What are the objectives of the struggle? Initially, he opposed compulsory vaccinations for Canadian truckers crossing the U.S. border. As long columns of trucks moved into the capital and reached Ottawa at the end of January, opposition grew rapidly: it was now directed against all Govt operations and generally against Justin Trudeau’s government, which was accused of being Govt. There must be dictatorship.
The right-wing scene in Canada is well-connected and is plagued by like-minded Americans, Perry said. In fact, the pictures taken from Ottawa are reminiscent of pictures coming from the United States. This is occasionally illustrated by Trump and federal flags.
Where does financial aid come from? Organizers raised donations through crowdfunding sites. Thus, millions gathered in a short period of time. Meanwhile, there is growing evidence of large-scale donations from the United States. “We are well aware of crowdfunding campaigns and know how they work,” says the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. But this size is unprecedented.
How were the struggles abroad welcomed? Extremist groups in the United States have been interested in the struggle from the beginning. Jared Holt, who monitors terrorism online at the Atlantic Council, an American think tank, says they are ubiquitous in related chats on social networks. There is praise for the way the protests have paralyzed parts of Canada. And key right-wing commentators jumped: Trucker protests hailed by powerful conservative broadcaster Fox News.
Turning off the money pipe for the Gofundme platform struggles further increased the focus. Former President Donald Trump also praised the truckers. Groups quickly formed through sites such as the Telegram and planned such convoys abroad, including in Europe. However, these do not have the same effect as in Canada.
How does the government intend to end the protests? Meanwhile, the Ambassador Bridge to the United States, which is very important from an economic point of view, has been removed. But Ottawa is still occupied by truckers. The city and then the province declared a state of emergency and nothing changed. Trudeau described the protesters as a small marginal group and refused to talk to them. This week he enforced the emergency law. It is designed to filter the cash flow of truckers and give the police more power to intervene.
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