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India asks its citizens in Canada to ‘remain alert’ amid truckers protest

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Amid ongoing protests in Ottawa, India has advised its citizens living in Canada and those planning to visit the country to avoid areas where demonstrations are taking place, urging them to follow instructions of local authorities, including curfews.

"In view of the ongoing situation, Indian citizens in Canada and those planning to visit Canada are hereby advised to exercise a high degree of caution and remain alert, avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place, such as downtown Ottawa, follow the instructions of local authorities, including curfews and monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations and the evolving situation," an advisory issued by the High Commission of India, Ottawa stated on Tuesday.

The Canadian capital city of Ottawa and several other major cities including Toronto are currently witnessing protests with road blockages, demonstrations, large gatherings, and general strikes. This has led to disruptions to traffic, public transportation, and shortages of essential items, including food and water, the advisory said.

"Owing to the prevailing situation, a state of emergency has been declared for the City of Ottawa. The impact on traffic and services is likely to continue and local authorities in other major cities of Canada may also impose curfews or other restrictions at short notice," it added.

Meanwhile, a special emergency helpline (+1) 6137443751 has been set up in the High Commission in Ottawa to provide assistance and guidance to Indian citizens in distress due to the ongoing disturbances in Canada.

"Indian citizens in Canada are also encouraged to register with the High Commission of India in Ottawa or Consulates of India in Toronto and Vancouver through their websites, or the MADAD portal madad.gov.in Registration would enable the High Commission and the Consulates to better connect with Indian citizens in Canada in the event of an emergency," the advisory added.

The current wave of protests against COVID-19 measures started when thousands of demonstrators gathered in Ottawa expressing strong opposition to vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border.