the mayor of Ottawa stated on Sunday “state of emergency” in the Canadian capital, considering that the situation in his city was “out of control”, paralyzed for more than a week by opponents of health measures, while the police hardened their tone against the protesters.
The protests, which began in Ottawa on Saturday the 29th, spread this weekend to other large Canadian cities while on Sunday dozens of trucks and protesters kept the center of the capital paralyzed.
Mayor Jim Watson announced in the afternoon that he was declaring a state of emergency in Ottawa “due to the ongoing demonstration.”
The decision “reflects the grave danger and security threat of residents representing the ongoing protests and underscores the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” the City Council said in a statement.
He argued that the measure “also provides greater flexibility within the municipal administration to allow the city of Ottawa to manage business continuity to provide essential services” to residents.
Out of control
Earlier, the mayor told a local radio that “the situation is currently out of control because the protesters impose their law.” The demonstrators “are many more than our policemen,” he said.
“We are losing the battle,” admitted the mayor (…) we must recover the city,” he remarked.
Watson called the behavior of protesters blocking streets and truckers honking their horns “unacceptable.”
The movement, called “Freedom Convoy”, initially aimed against the decision to force truckers to be vaccinated against covid-19 in order to cross the border with the United States. The protest later turned into a mobilization against all health measures and against the very government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The protesters have already expressed that they intend to remain on the street until all sanitary restrictions are lifted.
Similar movements, but on a smaller scale, took place on Saturday in several major Canadian cities such as Toronto, Quebec or Winnipeg, and continued on Sunday especially in Quebec.
chaos and demand
The Ottawa Police Chief regretted not having sufficient means to end what he described as a “state of siege” and called for “supplemental resources.”
The Ottawa Police expect to receive 250 troops from the Royal Canadian Gendarmerie; a body of the federal police.
In the morning, the movement’s organizers in Ottawa announced as a “goodwill gesture” their intention to pause their trumpet concerts for a few hours on Sunday to honor the “Lord’s Day.”
450 tickets have been issued since Saturday morning, for excessive noise or use of fireworks, Ottawa police spokesmen reported, noting that protesters engaged in disruptive or illegal acts that posed a risk to public safety or increased ” people’s anguish.”
A hundred investigations were also opened for crimes related to the demonstration.
Desperate for the chaos, Ottawa residents have launched a class action lawsuit for about 10 million Canadian dollars (about 7.8 million dollars) against the organizers.