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Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando on Feb. 26, 2022.MARCO BELLO/Reuters

Former U.S. president Donald Trump is assailing Canada as a country of “left-wing fascists” for the way it cleared protesters out of Ottawa last weekend.

Trump’s remarks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida marked the first time in nearly a month he’s publicly acknowledged the protests.

He said protesters in Canada were “slandered” as Nazis, racists and terrorists, charged with what he called “phony crimes” and accused of being loyal to foreign powers.

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The comments prompted a passionate standing ovation from the crowd.

Trump says police crossed a line when they began removing protesters after nearly a month of their occupation of streets in downtown Ottawa, both on and nearby Parliament Hill.

He says he stands with the truckers who staged the protest and with Canadians who he says are fighting to reclaim their freedom.

“The tyranny we have witnessed in Canada in recent weeks should shock and dismay people all over the world,” he said to hoots and hollers from a sympathetic crowd in Orlando.

“In an advanced Western democracy, that peaceful movement of patriotic truckers, workers and families protesting for their most basic rights and liberties has been violently put down.”

Trump likened Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to President Joe Biden, whom he vowed to ensure would be dispatched to “political exile,” along with Democratic allies like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

“They have been slandered as Nazis, racists and terrorists – these are the names they’ve been called,” Trump said.

“I watched them; I saw those Maple Leafs all over, the flags and the love for their country. Plenty of Americans were there, too, and they love our country. They’re being hunted down like enemies of their own government and treated worse than drug dealers and murderers or rapists.”

Authorities in Canada crossed a line when they began making arrests, towing vehicles and forcing the protesters out of the national capital’s downtown core, he continued.

“You’re either with the peaceful truckers, or you are with the left-wing fascists – that’s what’s been happening,” he said.

“We stand with the truckers and we stand with the Canadian people in their noble quest to reclaim their freedom.”

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