COVID-19 vaccine protesters throw rocks at Canadian PM Justin Trudeau

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Sept. 7 (UPI) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday he was inspired by front-line workers who are faced with harassment, a day after protesters pelted him with rocks on a campaign stop.

Trudeau was stepping onto his campaign bus in London, Ontario on Monday when he was hit by gravel hurled by demonstrators who oppose COVID-19 vaccine “passports” and face mask mandates. He was not injured.

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“No one should be doing their jobs under the threat of violence or acts that put them in danger,” Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party, said Tuesday in Montreal.

“There are healthcare workers across the country who are getting hassled and intimidated and bullied as they are going in to work to keep people safe and alive. There are store clerks, waitresses, people going about their daily lives getting yelled at and pushed around for wearing masks, for being vaccinated. That’s not how we do things in Canada.”

On Aug. 15, Trudeau called a snap election to be held on Sept. 20 with hopes that his party could secure more seats in Parliament.

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Trudeau’s handling of the 20-month-long COVID-19 pandemic has largely been seen as a success. More than 68% of Canada’s population is fully vaccinated and more than 75% have gotten at least one dose.

But with recent protests against “vaccination passports,” Trudeau dissolved parliament and said voters need to weigh.

Trudeau’s two-week-old campaign has been met with many protesters who argued that he didn’t need to call for a snap election. Many also oppose vaccine and mask requirements.Last week, protests erupted across Ontario when Premier Doug Ford announced a COVID-19 vaccine passport plan for the province. Similar protests took place across British Colombia outside hospitals, police headquarters and other areas.

Trudeau held his first campaign stop Monday in London, Ontario, at a mico-brewery where around 100 people were demonstrating.

He shrugged off being hit by rocks and described the protesters as a “mob.”

Leader of the Conservatives Erin O’Toole denounced the act, calling it “disgusting” and “violent.”

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