By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
OTTAWA (Worthy News) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and family members were moved from their Ottawa home to a secret location in the capital after thousands protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other restrictions marched near Parliament, several sources said.
The embattled Trudeau, his wife, and their children were reportedly whisked away due to “heightened security concerns.”
The prime minister’s published itinerary for the day usually states he is in Ottawa while at home, but on Saturday, it was changed to say “National Capital Region.” Trudeau worked remotely and isolated after one of his children tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
The Prime Minister’s office said it would not comment on Trudeau’s location for “security reasons” after Canadian broadcaster CBC reported the move.
In 2020, a Canadian Armed Forces member carrying a gun rammed his vehicle into the gates of Rideau Hall, where the Trudeaus live, hoping to reach the prime minister.
The Canadian Parliament’s Sergeant-at-Arms warned that demonstrators could also show up at officials’ homes, but it wasn’t clear whether they had received any threats.
Trudeau’s relocation came as protesters — mostly made up of a massive convoy of truckers — rolled into the city to rally against vaccine mandates, masks, and lockdowns.
What began as a ‘Freedom Convoy’ against vaccine requirements for cross-border truckers grew into a significant movement against the Trudeau government’s coronavirus regulations.
At least thousands of truckers and other protesters braved bitter weather in snowy streets to call for an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions, footage showed.
Their protest was also noted by former U.S. President Donald J. Trump, who told supporters “we are with them all the way” as they were, in his view, fighting for freedom.
“The truckers, you have read about it, who are resisting bravely these lawless mandates do more to defend American freedom by far than our own leaders by far,” Trump said.
“And we want those great Canadian truckers to know that we are with them all the way. They are; they are really showing something,” he added on shouts and applause of approval.
Among the thousands of people protesting in Ottawa were some with their children, elderly and disabled people, reporters noted.
Police said they were on “high alert for possible violence” after protesters flooded into the parliamentary precinct, despite an “extreme cold warning.”
Critics said some protesters were seen dancing on a prominent war memorial, prompting condemnation from Canada’s top soldier General Wayne Eyre and Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand.
“I am sickened to see protesters dance on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and desecrate the National War Memorial. Generations of Canadians have fought and died for our rights, including free speech, but not this. Those involved should hang their heads in shame,” General Wayne Eyre added on social networking site Twitter.
However, footage obtained by Worthy News showed most protesters were peacefully resisting what they see as growing limitations of long-cherished freedoms in Canada.
Authorities officially estimated the rally’s start to involve 10,000, but drone footage seen by Worthy News suggested the crowds could have been much larger.
Prime Minister Trudeau lashed out at the demonstrators, calling them a “small fringe minority of people who are on their way to Ottawa who are holding unacceptable views.”
He claimed the opinions “they are expressing does not represent the views of Canadians who have been there for each other.”
He said those supporting his COVID-19 mandates and other restrictions “know that following the science and stepping up to protect each other is the best way to continue to ensure our freedoms, our rights, our values, as a country.”
Several of the event’s organizers urged supporters to avoid violence. “We cannot achieve our goals if there are threats or acts of violence,” BJ Dicher told CBC.
Protestors faced many security forces. Ottawa Police Service received reinforcements from the Toronto, London, York, and Durham regions, plus the Ontario Provincial Police, media said.
Police claimed a large presence was needed due to “violent rhetoric” coming from the movement on social media.
Extremists, whose ties to protesters remained unclear, called for the Ottawa rally to turn into an attack on Parliament, comparable to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
On Saturday, some people in the rally were seen carrying the Patriots flag tied to the Lower Canada rebellions of 1837, where French-speakers in Quebec rebelled against British rule.
Earlier, Ottawa Police Service chief Peter Slowly warned of “lone-wolf” elements who would use the rally to spark riots.
However, protest organizer BJ Dicher stressed that this “movement is a peaceful protest. And we do not condone any acts of violence.”
So far, there have been “no incidents to report” Ottawa police acknowledged later about this weekend’s rally.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.