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image sourceReutersimage captionThe Canadian prime minister faced protesters as he campaigned in Ontario

Justin Trudeau has been forced to cancel an election rally after a crowd of angry protesters ambushed the event.

The Canadian prime minister had been set to address supporters in Bolton, Ontario, but the event was called off over security concerns.

Dozens of protesters gathered at the rally and shouted obscenities before Mr Trudeau could speak.

The Liberal prime minister is hoping to secure a majority in a snap general election he called earlier this month.

But in recent days his canvassing efforts have been dogged by protests against Covid-19 vaccines and government restrictions.

At Friday's rally, his campaign bus had to be escorted away by police after the event was cancelled following a two-hour delay.

The 49-year-old said the protests showed how the pandemic had been hard on everyone.

"We all had a difficult year. Those folks out protesting, they had a difficult year too, and I know and I hear the anger, the frustration, perhaps the fear," Mr Trudeau said.

He said the event had been cancelled because organisers could not ensure people's safety.

Earlier on Friday, crowds had disrupted the prime minister's visit to a bakery in the town of Nobleton, with some jeering and holding signs reading "Trudeau Treason".

On Wednesday, on a visit to British Columbia, he was met by anti-vaccine protesters, with some shouting they would refuse the Covid jab.

  • How vaccine mandates became a Canada election issue
  • Why the star power of Trudeau dimmed

Vaccine mandates – that Mr Trudeau has backed for some workers and most travellers – have become a key issue in the general election campaign.

Mr Trudeau called the election on 15 August when polls indicated his minority Liberal government looked within reach of forming a majority.

Canadians will vote on 20 September, some two years ahead of schedule.

In October 2019, voters handed him a minority, meaning he has had to rely on opposition parties to help him pass his agenda.

Opposition parties have criticised the Liberals for calling a five-week long campaign during the Covid-19 pandemic's latest wave simply for "political gain".

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