Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a group of protesters who swarmed him outside a Hamilton restaurant on Tuesday a “handful of angry people.”
Video posted to social media, shows the prime minister walking into Jackson Square, a plaza located near James Street and York Boulevard, while a large group of people yell and swear at him.
Protesters confront police behind a restaurant in downtown Hamilton, Ont., where the Liberal Cabinet retreat is taking place, on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn)
In the video, uniformed officers are seen protecting Trudeau, ensuring he’s able to walk through the street safely.
The small group of protesters can be heard screaming “tyrant” and “traitor,” while demanding Trudeau resign. Many of the protesters could be seen carrying Canadian flags.
One of the protesters was carrying a “We love the fringe” flag, a reference to when Trudeau called the people involved in the trucker convoy in Ottawa a “fringe minority of people.”
The protesters also had an inflatable sheep, that appears to be wearing a mask, that says “99.8% survival rate,” a likely reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Trudeau reiterated that he has received a warm welcome from most people in the city, where is he visiting for a Liberal cabinet retreat.
Protesters close off a street in downtown Hamilton, Ont., where the Liberal Cabinet retreat is taking place, on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn)
He was asked by a reporter if he felt the incident was a “secure situation.”
“A handful of angry people do not define what Hamilton is or what democracy is in this country,” he replied. “The welcome I’ve gotten here in Hamilton has been extraordinary.”
“It’s really, really important in our democracy that people can express their disagreement or displeasure or even anger with various governments.”
Protesters yell at the door of a hotel, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is staying during the Liberal Cabinet retreat, in downtown Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, January 24, 2023. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn)
When asked if he’s holding fewer large, open events because of this anger, Trudeau answered no.
“We’re going to continue to be out there,” he said. “We’re not going to let a handful of angry people interfere with the democratic processes that Canadians have always taken pride in.”
Trudeau is in Hamilton for a three-day retreat with his cabinet. Health-care funding, in addition to the threat of a recession, were two topics being actively discussed.
CTV News Toronto has reached out to Hamilton police about the incident but has yet to receive a response.