Canada: Judge orders truckers in Ottawa to stop honking

Truckers in Ottawa have been ordered to stop honking their horns in an ongoing protest that has snarled up the city.

The loud and constant blare of truck horns has become one of the defining features of the movement against Canada’s vaccine mandates.

But Judge Hugh McLean has now ordered they be silenced for the next 10 days.

“Tooting a horn is not an expression of any great thought I’m aware of,” said Justice McLean in Monday’s ruling which handed an interim victory to residents.

The noisy honking of some 400 to 500 trucks had prompted anger among local people and business owners.

The Freedom Convoy protest has spread to several cities and was formed against rules that truckers must be vaccinated to cross the US border.

But it’s now opposed to all kinds of mandates, in parts of Canada you need to show you’re vaccinated to enter indoor venues like restaurants, gyms and bars.

Most of the demonstrators are doing so peacefully, but there have been reports of harassment and some have used Nazi slogans to make their point.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is currently isolating after testing positive for Covid, has called their actions an “insult to truth and memory”.

On Monday, Ottawa’s mayor wrote an open letter to Mr Trudeau, asking for an urgent deployment of 1,800 law enforcement officers to end the “aggressive and hateful occupation”.

“People are living in fear and terrified – and they’ve now been subjected to the non-stop honking of large trucks for nine days, which is tantamount to psychological warfare,” wrote Mayor Jim Watson.

Responding to growing unease from residents, last week Ottawa police announced a new “surge and contain” strategy that saw approximately 150 officers deployed to the city’s centre, as well as a “red zone” of police barricades.

Seven arrests had been made, including three for mischief and one for driving while prohibited.

Over 1,000 tickets have been issued for excessive noise, fireworks, stunt driving and traffic violations.

Last weekend’s protests drew 1,000 trucks and 5,000 protesters, police said, down from 3,000 trucks and 10,000 to 15,000 protesters last weekend.

Following police reports of violence last week, GoFundMe announced it would withhold millions of dollars raised for the protesting truckers.