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Canadian PM Trudeau rules out military intervention, negotiation with protesters

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Canadian PM Trudeau rules out military intervention, negotiation with protesters
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday, he will not negotiate with protesters in Ottawa who are demanding an end to COVID-19 regulations. File Photo by Andre Pichette/EPA-EFE

Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday ruled out the possibility of military intervention in Ottawa to disband protests in the country's capital.

Trudeau also said he will not negotiate with the protesters who demanded an end to the country's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

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Demonstrators have been in the city for almost a week.

Protests initially began over a vaccine requirement for cross-border truckers. The movement has since picked up momentum across the country as a larger stance against COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccine and mask mandates.

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"One has to be very, very cautious before deploying military in situations engaging Canadians. It is not something that anyone should enter in lightly, but as of now, there have been no requests and that is not in the cards right now," Trudeau said during a virtual news conference Thursday.

The city's police have had their hands full dealing with the protesters.

"The range of illegal, dangerous and unacceptable activities is beyond the ability to list and the time that we have there today," Ottawa police Chief Peter Sloly told a city council meeting Wednesday.

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A now-paused online fundraiser in support of protesters has generated more than $10 million.

One of the organizers said Thursday that the protesters will not back down.

"Let me assure the people of Ottawa that we have no intent to stay one day longer than necessary. Our departure will be based on the prime minister doing what is right, ending all mandates and restrictions on our freedoms," Tamara Lich told reporters during a news conference in Ottawa.

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