Ottawa protests continue as city under state of emergency
A protest against pandemic restrictions continues in Ottawa a day after the city’s mayor declared a state of emergency and police cleared protesters from some areas.
Police said that multiple vehicles and fuel were seized Sunday and Confederation Park was cleared out. Seven people were arrested Sunday, mostly on mischief charges, and more than 500 tickets were issued over the weekend on violations including excessive honking and use of fireworks.
"We’re going after the fuel. We’re going after any vehicle, conveyance, including horseback, people carrying jerry cans. We are arresting and siezing and we are interdicting fuel going into the demonstrations," Police Chief Peter Sloly said at a news conference Monday.
The "Freedom Convoy" protesters, who have been blocking roads around Parliament since Jan. 29, said Monday the amount of fuel seized was small.
Police estimated Saturday that 500 heavy vehicles associated with the protest are in the area. Thousands of people joined the protest over the weekend but police barricades prevented additional vehicles from entering the area.
Protest organizers accused politicians of trying to "provoke resistance and violence" and said demonstrators have remained peaceful. Police said the protesters "exhibited extremely disruptive and unlawful behavior" on Saturday night "which presented risks to public safety and unacceptable distress for Ottawa residents."
Residents say they are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight. Ontario’s Conservative premier has called for demonstrators to end the "occupation" of Ottawa.
On Monday, New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh called for an emergency debate in Parliament, saying the country is in crisis.
Protests were also held Saturday in a number of other Canadian cities, including Toronto and Winnipeg, but did not continue past the weekend.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance, a federation representing truckers across the country, said many of the protesters had no connection to the trucking industry, adding they have a separate agenda to push.
The group estimated that 85% of truckers in Canada are vaccinated. It opposes the protest.
Ottawa Police said Sunday night that more than 60 criminal investigations remain underway, primarily for mischief, thefts, hate crimes and property damage. They have also said they are working with Canadian, U.S. and international security agencies to investigate email-based threats to public officials.
Protest organizers have raised more than $5 million Canadian on the GiveSendGo platform after GoFundMe shut down an earlier fundraiser that had raised $10 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.