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A frustrated and seemingly impotent Police Services Board held an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon but divided we fall they failed to devise a clear plan of action regarding truck drivers and their supporters, who have been protesting against the country’s Covid-19 mandates for over a week.
‘We are on day eight of this occupation. Our city is under siege. What we’re seeing is bigger than just a City of Ottawa problem. This is a nationwide insurrection. We need a concrete plan to put an end to this,’ said the chair of the board, Ottawa City Council member Diane Deans, at the beginning of the nearly two-hour-long often heated virtual discussion.
Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly agreed with her portrayal of the situation, saying that local law enforcement was never intended to deal with a city under siege and decried the lack of resources and the lack of legal authority to disperse the protest.
Deans asked Solly what kind of resources and help he needs to put an end to the demonstration ‘right now,’ and whether he wants the city to request assistance from the federal government or even the military. Solly said there is no quick answer, as the situation is constantly evolving, and reiterated that we do not have sufficient resources to adequately and effectively address this situation.
At one point, Deans wondered whether the city had legal grounds to declare an unlawful assembly and then a riot, in order to conduct mass arrests, instead of pursuing one criminal charge at a time.
‘There are so many people out there engaged in a broader act of mayhem, that we need to be able to bring it all under control,’ she said.
Up to one million people are gathered to support and welcome a great army of truckers. On this occasion, rather than bringing supplies to under siege supermarkets and warehouses, they are welcomed as an ‘army of liberation’ from Canada’s liberal tyrannical regime whose power can be compared only to long-gone Bolshevik terrorised regimes.
The anti-mandate movement spread far beyond the nation’s capital, with a major protest in solidarity with the Freedom Convoy held in Toronto, where police set up roadblocks throughout downtown on Saturday. Thousands of demonstrators also descended on the provincial capital of Quebec, while rival protesters faced off in Vancouver. Smaller protests were reported in Calgary Fredericton, Regina and Winnipeg.
Street democracy protesters vowed to remain in the streets until all mandates and Covid-19 restrictions are removed. Enraged and frustrated authorities blasted the protest as a well-organised disruptive occupation, painting them as an ‘increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous’ nuisance to the livelihoods of law-abiding citizens.
Ottawa police have previously announced they will deploy any and all possible resources and tactics to shut down the Freedom Convoy. During a press conference on Friday, Sloly even warned his fellow officers that anyone seen collaborating with civilians such as giving food, water, fuel, logistics, or funding’ to a protester would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Officers are collecting driver IDs, registration and insurance information, and financial information where possible to assist in future prosecutions, Sloly warned.
After revealing that he lacked the resources and the legal means to enable the lifting of the siege he then goes on to say, ‘Everything is on the table,’ the police chief reiterated during the press conference, saying that the scale of the protest was unprecedented. You can share this story on social media:
STOP PRESS: The only violent incident involved a vehicle driver who deliberately ploughed his SUV into peaceful demonstrators: A 42-year-old Canadian man is facing multiple criminal charges after driving his Jeep Patriot through a group of protesters in Winnipeg on Friday night, injuring four people. The Winnipeg Police said that after plowing through the crowd, the suspect fled the scene at high speed, breaking several red lights. He was eventually chased down and arrested following a “brief struggle,” according to a press release. A disturbing dashcam video from a parked truck shared on social media appears to show the moment a white SUV drove into a group of people peacefully protesting near Broadway and Memorial Boulevard.
It was met by a group of counter-protesters holding signs in support of healthcare workers.
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Thousands of demonstrators also descended on the provincial capital of Quebec, while rival protesters faced off in Vancouver.
Smaller protests were reported in Calgary Fredericton, Regina and Winnipeg.