Protesters Pelt Justin Trudeau with Gravel During Campaign Stop: 'No Big Deal,' He Says

A reporter tweeted video of the moment the small objects could be seen whizzing by the Canadian prime minister as he stepped off his campaign bus

Justin Trudeau
Justin Trudeau. Photo: DAVE CHAN/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pelted with stones on Monday during a brief confrontation with protesters at a campaign stop.

The 49-year-old Trudeau, who is running for reelection, was making a stop at a London, Ontario, brewery when people threw what reports described as "dime-size rocks" in his direction.

CBC reporter Sarah Sears tweeted video of the moment that the small objects could be seen whizzing by the prime minister as he stepped off his campaign bus.

Trudeau later dismissed the incident to reporters on his party's campaign plane, saying, "There was little bits of gravel. It's no big deal," according to The Washington Post.

Later in the day, Canada's CTV News reported that the liberal leader told a crowd of supporters he would not "back down" from the policies he's enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also sought to minimize the backlash from some.

"Yes, 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 said.

He continued, saying he would "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."

When asked by reporters whether he had been injured by any of the flying debris, Trudeau said "a little bit of gravel" may have hit his arm, according to CTV News reporter Annie Bergeron-Oliver.

Last month, Canada announced a forthcoming policy requiring all passengers and staffers on commercial air flights in the country be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Canada's government will also require all federal workers to be vaccinated against the virus. The country's government said the policy could go into effect as early as September.

As in North America, vaccine mandates have proved a hot-button issue for voters in the country, with Trudeau's conservative rival, Erin O'Toole, saying he was in favor of daily testing rather than enforced vaccinations.

Still, O'Toole has said he supports vaccinations and wrote on Monday that he was "disgusted" by the crowds throwing rocks at his political challenger.

"This is disgusting and I condemn these actions in the strongest terms possible. Political violence is never justified and our media must be free from intimidation, harassment, and violence," O'Toole wrote in a tweet.

The stone-throwing incident came one week after Trudeau was forced to cancel a campaign event last week due to protesters deemed to be a security risk.

At the time, he said he understood the frustration among some of those protesting, BBC reports.

"We all had a difficult year. Those folks out protesting, they had a difficult year too, and I know and I hear the anger, the frustration, perhaps the fear," he said last week.

Overall, Canada has reported more than 1.5 million cases and 27,000 deaths from COVID-19, according to a New York Times tracker, which estimates that approximately 68 percent of the country's adult population is fully vaccinated against the disease.

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