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Protesters seeking an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health measures are demonstrating for a third weekend at sites across Canada, and solidarity demonstrations are being held in other countries.
The Freedom Convoy, as it’s known, rolled into Ottawa in late January and has inspired similar protests across Canada, including blockades at vital border crossings.
The protests have caused widespread disruptions, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that police and all levels of government are preparing to take action against the demonstrators if they do not stand down.
What’s happening across Canada
In the Atlantic provinces, a crowd of protesters outside the New Brunswick legislature in Fredericton grew to nearly 300 on Saturday afternoon; cars, trucks and even some tractors travelled through Prince Edward Island in what was billed as a “slow roll” protest; and a protest in support of the convoy was met with a counter-protest in Nova Scotia.
In Ontario, police have moved in to enforce an injunction to end a blockade at the Ambassador Bridge linking Windsor to Detroit; police in Fort Erie are bracing for a protest convoy to arrive at the Peace Bridge, Canada’s third-busiest border crossing; a few hundred people have gathered peacefully near the Ontario legislature in Toronto; and police in Ottawa say that although all available officers have been deployed, they are awaiting reinforcements in order to enact a plan to end the convoy occupation in the nation’s capital.
WATCH | CBC News Network’s live coverage of the protests:
Watch CBC News Network’s coverage of the protests at the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ont., and elsewhere across Canada. 0:00
In Quebec, protesters in Montreal marched and listened to speakers at a park, which included People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier. A smaller group of counter-protesters also held a short march, calling the movement against pandemic measures “a front for the far-right.”
Protests inspired by the Canadian demonstrations were seen in parts of Europe on Saturday.
At least 500 vehicles in several convoys attempted to enter Paris at key arteries but were intercepted by police. Over 200 motorists were ticketed, and elsewhere at least two protesters were detained amid a seizure of knives, hammers and other objects in a central square.
In the Netherlands, meanwhile, dozens of trucks and other vehicles ranging from tractors to a car towing a camping van arrived in The Hague, blocking an entrance to the historic parliamentary complex. Protesters on foot joined them, carrying a banner emblazoned with “Love & Freedom, No Dictatorship” in Dutch.
In the United States, a convoy of motorists is planning to head to the waterfront in Port Huron, Mich., in support of protesters in Canada. Another U.S. group said two separate vehicle convoys will converge this weekend at the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.
Earlier this week in New Zealand, protesters rolled up to Parliament grounds in a convoy of cars and trucks and set up camp. Police have taken a hands-off approach after initial attempts to remove them resulted in physical confrontations.