Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seeking a third term in office in a snap election later this month, has repeatedly faced off against angry protesters on the campaign trail. And now, one has even thrown stones at him.
The incident happened on Monday as the Liberal Party leader was leaving an event at a microbrewery in London, a city southwest of Toronto in Ontario province. Someone in the crowd threw what appeared to be a handful of gravel at the prime minister, TV images showed.
Trudeau, members of his security detail and journalists were reportedly struck. No one was injured.
The incident drew condemnation from Trudeau’s main rival, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh.
Trudeau – who has slipped in the polls and is now in a statistical dead heat with O’Toole – has faced off on several recent occasions with what he described as “anti-vaxxer mobs” angry with his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Protesters enraged over proposed mandatory coronavirus vaccines and other crisis measures have shouted racial and misogynist slurs at his entourage.
Last week, he was forced to cancel an event over security concerns.
“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 at a campaign stop.
“But Canadians, the vast majority of Canadians, are not represented by them, and I know will 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.”