A Canadian trucker, a figure in the protest movement that shook the country in February, announced Monday January 2 that he would stop organizing a new demonstration to celebrate the first anniversary of the blockades.
James Bauder, founder of Canada Unity, one of the groups behind the weeks-long occupation of central Ottawa last winter, said in a statement that he “cannot guarantee public safety and that he fears prosecution for those taking part.
This movement, started by truckers mobilized against health restrictions against Covid-19, had shaped a country unaccustomed to such social movements. Their forced evacuation, made possible by an extremely rare resort to special legislation by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had sparked an important debate about public liberties in Canada. James Bauder recently announced his intention to organize a new event to celebrate the first anniversary and announced last week that he would be moving this new event to Winnipeg in the center of the country.
Residents – in memory of the noise pollution, especially due to this long-standing closure in the center of the federal capital – and politicians were concerned about this call. Police, overwhelmed in 2022, had warned against banning demonstrations with a vehicle on Ottawa streets. And the provincial capital of Ontario passed a law in April that makes it possible to punish the closure of infrastructure with a hefty fine or even a year in prison.
James Bauder was one of about 200 people arrested and prosecuted during the evacuation. Not everyone agrees with his renunciation, some have expressed their intention to demonstrate despite everything.