Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tested positive for COVID-19 Monday, days after he and his family were moved to a secret location due to thousands of people protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the capital, Ottawa.
“This morning, I tested positive for COVID-19,” Trudeau announced in a tweet. “I’m feeling fine – and I’ll continue to work remotely this week while following public health guidelines. Everyone, please get vaccinated and get boosted.”
Trudeau received his booster shot at the beginning of January just before additional pandemic restrictions took effect in Ontario due to the Omicron variant. The 50-year-old had been working remotely after one of his children tested positive for the virus.
The prime minister’s positive test result was announced two days after he and his family were taken out of Ottawa due to security concerns as thousands of protesters descended on the city.
The protesters, many of them truckers traveling in a huge convoy, called for the repeal of vaccine mandates, masks and lockdown measures.
Dubbed the “Freedom Convoy,” the protest originally targeted a Jan. 15 vaccine mandate for cross-border truck drivers, however it soon became a demonstration against all COVID measures.
The protestors lined up in front of Parliament buildings on Saturday. Several were seen carrying signs, some targeting Trudeau, and at least one carried a Confederate flag. Some were even spotted with swastika flags. Other signs compared the vaccine mandates to fascism.
Some protesters remained in the area on Sunday.
Police are investigating potential criminal charges against some protestors after reports emerged that some urinated and danced on the National War Memorial. Videos showed a group of protestors dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Several criminal investigations are underway in relation to the desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox statue, threatening/illegal/intimidating behavior to police/city workers and other individuals and damage to a city vehicle,” Ottawa police said on social media.
“Illegal behaviour will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated. We have investigative and evidence-gathering teams in place to support the management of the demonstration. We cannot take reports through social media. Incidents must be reported to police.”
Trudeau slammed the protestors’ actions during a Monday news conference, accusing them of using “hateful rhetoric” and “violence toward fellow citizens.”
“Freedom of expression, assembly, and association are cornerstones of democracy,” he said. “Nazi symbolism, racist imagery and desecration of war memorials are not.”
“It is an insult to memory and truth. Hate can never be the answer.”
He added that while there is “a right to make your voices heard loud and clearly … There is not a right to shut down our democracy, our democratic processes.”