Matthew Luloff, an Ottawa City Councilman, told American taxpayer-funded NPR that the “Freedom Convoy” protests against coronavirus-related mandates in the city were fueled by “miscreants” embracing “hate symbols,” which defies on-the-ground reports showing peaceful demonstrations attracting people of all ages.
Luloff said the protest had “morphed into something much uglier” than what eyewitness reports had proven, without offering concrete evidence.
“When you say ugly, describe that to me,” an NPR host for Morning Edition asked Luloff.
“So some of the most well-known radicals in this country have now descended upon the capital,” Luloff said, failing to name any.
“Some of them are calling for violence. Some of them are threatening individual politicians. There have been, you know, threats against life and limb. And it’s incredibly discouraging. We’ve seen some hate symbols. We’ve seen flyers distributed that are acutely anti-Semitic,” he said.
A person holds a sign reading “Freedom” as truckers and supporters continue to protest against mandates and restrictions related to Covid-19 vaccines in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on February 5, 2022. (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
“Now, at the same time, there are people within this group that are demonstrating downtown with legitimate concerns, but you don’t have a productive conversation at the business end of a gun or the grill of a semitruck,” Luloff argued.
“Among some of the demands by the protesters is that the vaccine mandates end nationwide,” the NPR host asked. “Will the prime minister [Justin Trudeau] give in to these demands?”
Luloff blamed Trudeau’s intransigence on the issue — he has steadfastly refused to meet the protesters or address their concerns in any way — on the United States:
The prime minister has aligned our vaccination policy with the United States so that cross-border truckers are required to be vaccinated. The United States is our largest trading partner, and it is important that on policy matters like this that we are aligned to ensure the proper flow of goods. And so, essentially, it’s the municipality that is paying for the grievances that these truckers and other miscreants, frankly, have with the federal government.
But Breitbart News reporting on the ground in Ottawa painted a much different picture of protesters:
News media outlets described a fictional parallel universe divorced from the demonstration’s reality. The Associated Press framed Saturday’s demonstration as marred by swastikas, Confederate flags, and desecrations of war memorials without providing any photographic or video evidence. CTV operatives breathlessly tweeted accusations of protesters taking food from homeless shelters, waving swastikas, and – gasp! – going maskless into a Tim Hortons.
[A Breitbart reporter] asked Shanna, who lives near Ottawa and had been to the demonstrations daily since Saturday, to address derisions of protesting Canadians from those in news media and politics.
She replied, “Just come down. Come down any day – even on the weekends or on a weekday – look around. You’ll for sure see Canada here. Everybody is here in unity, and there’s all love. I’ve been down here five days trying to find this ‘hate.’ I can’t find it.”
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with reporters prior to Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill February 8, 2022, in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Also, a Canadian news outlet said police on the scene claim the protest is peaceful:
The “Freedom Convoy” protests against COVID-19 vaccination mandates and other public health measures have caused gridlock downtown and major headaches for area residents and business owners. But Sloly said Monday that things could be much worse.
“It could have led to significant and severe injuries, and it could have led to the loss of life,” Police Chief Peter Sloly said at the start of the protest. “None of that has occurred over the last four days.”
“No riots, no injuries, no deaths,” Sloly said. “That is a measure of success for any jurisdiction in Canada, and quite frankly anywhere in the world.”
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