Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appealed Thursday for fellow Canadians to speak to each other respectfully following death threats by “yellow vest” protestors.
Visiting western Canada to unofficially kick off his re-election campaign, Trudeau has encountered a small number of activists in the fluorescent jackets emblematic of the populist, grassroots political movement for economic justice that began in France last year.
Members of the group, which counts more than 100,000 followers on social media, have assailed the prime minister over a carbon emissions levy, his promotion of multiculturalism and immigration.
Many have made virulent posts calling for Trudeau’s death.
“Canada is a country where we encourage people to speak out and express their views and express their preoccupations,” he told reporters.
“That is one of the strengths of our democracy.”
He added that he was happy to hear from people with disagreements but stressed the importance of listening “in a respectful manner” as the only way of ensuring Canadians move forward together on the right path.
“We take all threats made against the prime minister very seriously,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Michelle Schmidt told AFP.
The “yellow vests” are reportedly planning more protests this upcoming weekend at coffee shops across the country.