The Canadian government is still mulling over whether to the military against Freedom Convoy protesters, although Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the decision wouldn’t be taken “lightly.”
Thousands of demonstrators arrived in downtown Ottawa last week to protest against vaccine mandates that dictate truckers returning to Canada from the U.S. quarantine once they arrive at home.
With the city still gridlocked, Police Chief Peter Sloly says the numbers could swell again this weekend.
“There may not be a policing solution,” to resolve the impasse, he warned, adding that authorities are “looking at every single option, including military aid.”
That has prompted some to speculate that the Canadian military could be called in to shut down the protest, sparking a potential confrontation that could dangerously escalate.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had received no formal request to authorize military action, but would “of course, look at any formal requests [the city of Ottawa] sent us.”
“One has to be very, very cautious before deploying the military in situations engaging Canadians,” Trudeau said during a press conference. “It is not something that anyone should enter into lightly.”
Canadian Defense Minister Anita Anand said there were “no plans for the Canadian Armed Forces to be involved in the current situation in Ottawa in a law enforcement capacity,” noting that the military is “not a police force.”
Trudeau, who has repeatedly smeared the protesters as racists and extremists, said, “Our preoccupation remains being there for the citizens of Ottawa, the neighborhoods that have been significantly disrupted by these protests.”