Canada PM Justin Trudeau invokes emergency powers to quell trucker protests

Associated PressUpdated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 10:03 AM IST
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Canada's PM Justin Trudeau | (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP)

Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has invoked emergency powers to try to quell the protests by truck drivers and others who have paralysed Ottawa and blocked border crossings in anger over the country's COVID-19 restrictions.

Trudeau ruled out using the military and said Monday that the emergency measures "will be time-limited, geographically targeted, as well as reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address." For the past two weeks, hundreds and sometimes thousands of protesters in trucks and other vehicles have clogged the streets of Ottawa, the capital, railing against vaccine mandates and other virus precautions and condemning Trudeau's Liberal government.

Members of the self-styled Freedom Convoy have also blockaded various US-Canadian border crossings, though the busiest and most important - the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit - was reopened over the weekend.

The prime minister met virtually with the leaders of Canada's provinces and planned to address the nation late in the afternoon.

In recent days, Trudeau rejected calls to use the military but otherwise said "all options are on the table" to end the protests, including invoking the Emergencies Act, which gives the government broad powers to restore order.

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