Greater Ottawa declares state of emergency over ‘freedom convoy’ protests

Ottawa Major Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency in the city over ongoing trucker protests.

in to news release Sundaythe city said the decision, “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.”

It will also give the city more flexibility, the release added.

Frustration there has been mounting since what some are began calling an occupation of the downtown core over a week ago, with horns blaring throughout the night and making it difficult for many residents in the nation’s capital to sleep.

Also on Sunday, Ottawa police announced that anyone attempting to bring support such as gas, to demonstrators could be arrested, and said they’d issued more than 450 tickets since Saturday morning.

“Overnight, demonstrators exhibited extremely disruptive and unlawful behaviour, which presented risks to public safety and unacceptable distress for Ottawa residents,” read a news release on the Ottawa police website.

“We continue to advise demonstrators not to enter Ottawa, and to go home.”

Bylaw and police have issued tickets for things ranging from excessive noise, to fireworks, and stunt driving, according to the release.

Several large vehicles were towed including one stolen vehicle, the release added. Police there have responded to over 650 calls and almost a hundred criminal investigations have been opened.

A local hate crime hotline has also received over 200 calls.

What began as a trucker convoy protesting COVID-19 public health restrictions and vaccine mandates reached several Canadian cities, Saturday, including Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver, but also faced some of its strongest resistance yet.

Ontario’s Solicitor General Sylvia Jones congratulated the city of Toronto and Toronto police for “ensuring” the Saturday demonstration was safe, in an emailed statement, Sunday.

“I understand the Ottawa Police Service continues to express concerns about their ability to manage the ongoing occupation in their city,” she added.

“Politicians at all levels cannot direct the police. To be clear: police services, including the Ottawa Police Service, have full discretion and extensive existing legislative authority under the Criminal Code to respond to and manage demonstrations and take enforcement action, as appropriate, against any individuals committing crimes in their jurisdiction.”

More than 1,500 Ontario Provincial Police officers, as well as officers from other municipal police services and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, are on the ground in Ottawa, she said.

“While we cannot direct the police, we have provided the city of Ottawa with everything they have asked for and will continue to provide whatever support they request,” added Premier Doug Ford in a tweet.


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