truck protest flag

Everyone is condemning hate symbols spotted at the Ontario trucker rally

What started as a convoy of disgruntled anti-mandate truckers has ballooned into an all-encompassing anti-government protest since the truckers and their supporters arrived in Ottawa on Saturday.

The convoy has been the source of heated demonstrations since the trucks got rolling earlier in January. They've included far-right imagery such as Confederate flags seen rolling through the Greater Toronto Area, and the political rhetoric has only grown more extreme since protesters descended on the nation's capital this weekend.

Many of the anti-mandate protesters seem to skew to the right on the political spectrum, but pockets of extreme far-right activists, who might feel emboldened by this sudden wave of anti-establishment sentiment, are both drawing consternation from the left and even revealing political fault lines within the groups gathered in Ottawa.

Evoking memories of the imagery seen at the Jan. 6 2021 protest in Washington D.C., hate symbols have been spotted among demonstrators, including at least one individual waving a Nazi flag.

It has onlookers worried, including many who support the so-called "Freedom Convoy" but who draw the line at hateful bigotry, including one media outlet, True North, offering a cash reward for anyone who can identify one Nazi flag-waving protestor.

What started as a $1,000 reward to identify the culprit (or culprits) had swelled to $6,500 by Sunday afternoon as more contributions rolled in.

The outlet offering the reward has identified two flag-wavers that may or may not be the same individual, spotted at two different locations minutes apart. This could just be confusion in the fog of the protests, but it could also be a sign of a more widespread problem in the demonstration's ranks.

Politicians of all stripes are voicing condemnation, including federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Ontario Liberal leader Steven Del Duca.

Among the Conservative politicians who have spoken out against this troubling display of hate is MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who has tweeted on this and other issues since the protest arrived in Ottawa.

Doug Ford's eldest daughter, Krista, also shared the message to her followers on Instagram, among several other voices on the right with an interest of distancing the protest from powerful hate symbols.

Still, others, like controversial former U of T professor Jordan Peterson want to deny there is any issue at all.

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