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Ontario declares state of emergency over trucker protests, calling the demonstrations an ‘illegal occupation’

A person walks while holding Canada’s flag in front of parked trucks during a protest by truckers and supporters against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine mandates, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, February 5, 2022.

REUTERS/Carlos Osorio

Ontario’s premier has declared a widespread state of emergency amid the ongoing trucker protests, calling the demonstrations against vaccine mandates that have sparked gridlock in Canada’s capital city an “illegal occupation.”

‘This is no longer a protest. With a protest, you peacefully make your point and you go back home,” Doug Ford said at a press conference on Friday. 

Ford said he will “use legal authorities to urgently enact orders,” promising fines and jail time for non-compliance. 

Canada can’t “have people occupying cities, holding them hostage,” Ford said, and urged demonstrators to go home.

Protestors — who call themselves the “Freedom Convoy” — have clogged city streets in Ottawa for over two weeks and recently blocked a vital bridge between Detroit and Canada, snarling international trade.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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