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The New York Times Editorial Board has taken a stance in support of Canadian truckers’ right to protest, saying that peaceful demonstrations are a vital part of democracy.

The Freedom Convoy protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, which have brought Ottawa for a standstill for more than two weeks, have sharply divided opinion in the US.

Conservatives have tended to cheer on the demonstrators, while many liberal pundits have issued calls for a swift and harsh crackdown on the protests by any means necessary.

The left-leaning Times Editorial Board broke ranks, however, and said that the demonstration in Ottawa ‘ranks as a nuisance’ and ought to be tolerated in the name of free speech. 

‘Allowing nonviolent, even if disruptive, protest is an important tool for maintaining social cohesion in a polarized society,’ the board’s opinion piece stated. 

The New York Times Editorial Board took Justin Trudeau to task, saying that truckers in Canada have a right to protest as he considers invoking emergency powers

The New York Times Editorial Board took Justin Trudeau to task, saying that truckers in Canada have a right to protest as he considers invoking emergency powers

The New York Times Editorial Board took Justin Trudeau to task, saying that truckers in Canada have a right to protest as he considers invoking emergency powers

A demonstrator holding a Canadian flag walks in front of vehicles as truckers and their supporters block downtown streets of Ottawa on Monday

A demonstrator holding a Canadian flag walks in front of vehicles as truckers and their supporters block downtown streets of Ottawa on Monday

A demonstrator holding a Canadian flag walks in front of vehicles as truckers and their supporters block downtown streets of Ottawa on Monday

Freedom Convoy demonstrators are seen outside Canada's Parliament on Sunday

Freedom Convoy demonstrators are seen outside Canada's Parliament on Sunday

Freedom Convoy demonstrators are seen outside Canada’s Parliament on Sunday 

‘We disagree with the protesters’ cause, but they have a right to be noisy and even disruptive,’ the board wrote.

‘Protests are a necessary form of expression in a democratic society, particularly for those whose opinions do not command broad popular support,’ the essay continued.

‘Governments have a responsibility to prevent violence by protesters, but they must be willing to accept some degree of disruption by those seeking to be heard.’

The essay compared the current Freedom Convoy protests to the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in 2020, saying that in both cases, public officials had to balance public safety concerns with the right to free expression.  

‘Entertaining the use of force to disperse or contain legal protests is wrong,’ the editorial board wrote.

The essay noted that in November 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed support for farmers in India who blockaded major highways to New Delhi in protest over new laws to remove price floors on crops.

Farmers blocked highways to New Delhi for more than a year in protests over new laws. Trudeau said in November 2020 that he supported the protests

Farmers blocked highways to New Delhi for more than a year in protests over new laws. Trudeau said in November 2020 that he supported the protests

Farmers blocked highways to New Delhi for more than a year in protests over new laws. Trudeau said in November 2020 that he supported the protests 

The New York Times Editorial Board has taken a stance in support of Canadian truckers' right to protest, saying that peaceful demonstrations are a vital part of democracy

The New York Times Editorial Board has taken a stance in support of Canadian truckers' right to protest, saying that peaceful demonstrations are a vital part of democracy

The New York Times Editorial Board has taken a stance in support of Canadian truckers’ right to protest, saying that peaceful demonstrations are a vital part of democracy

‘Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest,’ Trudeau said at the time of the protests in India, which continued for a year. 

Now, Trudeau is reportedly planning on invoking Canada’s Emergencies Act, which grants powers that have been used only once before in peacetime, to initiate a federal crackdown on Freedom Convoy demonstrators.

Trudeau in a rare Monday meeting with his Liberal Caucus said he planned to invoke the act, but denied having any plans to deploy the military, sources familiar with the matter told the CBC.

Through protesters have been cleared from the key Ambassador Bridge, where about 30 protesters were arrested on Sunday, large demonstrations continue to paralyze the streets of Ottawa and protesters are blockading several border crossings in western Canada. 

Protesters have been cleared from the key Ambassador Bridge, where about 30 protesters were arrested on Sunday

Protesters have been cleared from the key Ambassador Bridge, where about 30 protesters were arrested on Sunday

Protesters have been cleared from the key Ambassador Bridge, where about 30 protesters were arrested on Sunday

The 1988 Emergencies Act allows the federal government to override the provinces and authorize special temporary measures to ensure security during national emergencies anywhere in the country. 

The legislation, previously known as the War Measures Act, has been used only three times in Canadian history: during the two world wars and in 1970 by Trudeau’s father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, after militant Quebec separatists kidnapped a British diplomat and a provincial Cabinet minister. 

As tensions boiled over, Ontario’s premier announced Monday that the province will lift its COVID-19 proof-of-vaccination requirements in two weeks —  but claimed it was not because of the protests over the mandate, but because ‘it is safe to do so.’  

Source: dailymail

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