OTTAWA—Protesters pelted Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and his security detail with rocks outside a campaign stop in London, Ont., on Monday evening.
A group of protesters, many without masks and carrying signs supporting Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada, confronted Trudeau as he was leaving a campaign stop at a London brewery.
Video taken by reporters on the campaign trail show what appear to be small rocks being thrown at Trudeau as he and his RCMP security detail approach the campaign bus. Nobody appears to have been injured.
Speaking to reporters on the campaign plane after the incident, Trudeau confirmed that he was struck but brushed it off.
The incident comes after Trudeau told reporters that he would not “back down” in the face of “anti-vaxxer mobs” that have been a persistent presence at Liberal campaign events.
“There is a small fringe element in this country that is angry, that doesn’t believe in science, that is lashing out with racist, misogynistic attacks,” Trudeau told reporters at a campaign event in Welland Monday morning.
“But Canadians, the vast majority of Canadians, are not represented by them, and I know will not allow those voices, those special interest groups, those protesters — I don’t even want to call them protesters, those anti-vaxxer mobs — to dictate how this country gets through this pandemic.”
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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole quickly condemned the protesters’ actions Monday evening, calling the scene “disgusting.”
“I condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible,” O’Toole wrote on Twitter, in response to a report from the scene that two members of the media were hit in the incident.
“Political violence is never justified and our media must be free from intimidation, harassment, and violence.”
Trudeau has been confronted by angry and at times aggressive protests at campaign stops across the country since the start of the election. While the Liberal leader has occasionally shot back at the groups — encouraging them to get vaccinated, for instance — it has forced the cancellation of one rally and led to tense scenes at other events.
The Star reported last week that some protesters opposed to mandatory vaccinations and other public health measures have been coordinating to disrupt Trudeau’s events, including sharing the Liberal leaders’ daily itinerary.
Trudeau is scheduled for an early morning event in Montreal on Tuesday morning before returning to Ottawa for a virtual town hall with Liberal volunteers.
Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering federal politics for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier
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