Adam: A message to Ottawa protesters – just go home

Many ordinary citizens have become prisoners in their homes, afraid to go out for fear of violence. Small businesses that have suffered terribly during the pandemic cannot open. The Rideau Center had to close. It’s time for these people to just go.

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Only one message should be sent to the protesters who have descended to the capital under the banner of the so-called Freedom Convoy: Go home where you belong.

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Living in a capital city, whether it is Ottawa, Washington or London, comes with a certain amount of disruption and inconvenience. As a center of government, capitals attract all kinds of protests, large and small. Citizens, and certainly Ottawans, have over the years learned to line up all sorts of people agitating for one cause or another. It is part of the purchase to live in the capital.

But what happens to the ridiculously named Freedom Convoy crossed the line where protesters created chaos and showed malice they would never tolerate in their hometowns. It is quite remarkable that this group, which includes some anti-waxers, COVID-19 deniers and conspiracy theorists, constantly talks about their freedom, as if their freedom is only what matters. They claim the right to exercise their freedom, not just not to be vaccinated, but to impose their will on the vast majority of Canadians who have been vaccinated. It is as if the rest of us have no rights at all.

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The convoy, which brought truck drivers and a mob that included people with white beliefs and tendencies, racists, anti-Semites and pure troublemakers, took center stage for most of three days, despite the absurdity of many of their claims. Their struggle, which began as a protest against the federal government’s vaccine mandate for truck drivers, quickly turned into a demand for the removal of all public health measures. It did not matter that most of these measures were introduced by provincial governments for the safety of the citizens. Ridiculously enough, they want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau removed from office, and some have promised to remain in office until their demands are met. While refusing vaccines, hospitals are crammed with refuseniks like them; meanwhile, people with serious illnesses, such as cancer, cannot get treatment.

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It is worth remembering that most truck drivers – between 83 and 87 percent – are fully vaccinated. And 82 percent of Canadians are fully grown. So here we have a situation where most truck drivers are fully involved in public health measures, just like most Canadians – and a minority are asking the majority to bow to their will. Think about how this makes sense. And that’s not all. In their fight for freedom, this group that came down to Ottawa has given itself the right to enter the Shepherds of Good Hope, which helps feed the homeless, harass, intimidate and assault selfless staff – and demand free food. They have hurled insults and swear words at people, given themselves the right to enter the Rideau Center without a mask, and demand that other working people remove their masks. And in pursuit of their freedom, they have desecrated some of the sacred monuments in the city. This is what freedom looks like from inside the cab of a truck.

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Now you will hear some people say that the vast majority of protesters are peaceful and the bad actors are a minority. Do not buy it. These are people who came with the convoy. They are part of the group. They are connected for better or worse.

The city has endured a lot. Many ordinary citizens have become prisoners in their homes, afraid to go out for fear of violence. Small businesses that have suffered terribly during the pandemic cannot open. The Rideau Center had to close. The police who carry out yoman’s work are so extensive that they can not respond to calls for help.

Make no mistake, we are all tired of COVID-19. We are all stressed. We want our lives back. But to do that, we need to be vaccinated. Vaccinations remain our best chance against COVID. Coming to Ottawa and threatening people and causing harm achieves nothing.

It may be time for Ottawa Police to remove these anti-vaccine mandate disruptors from our city. They have to leave and go home, no matter where the home is. And if forcible removal is the only answer, then so be it.

Mohammed Adam is a journalist and commentator in Ottawa.

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