In the News
Current Developments Related to Declaration of Public Order Emergency
Standoff in Ottawa Continues Despite Police Measures to Clear Out Protestors
Police in Ottawa made over 100 arrests on Friday, February 18 and at least 47 more by 2:00 pm on Saturday, news agencies report. In addition, a total of 38 vehicles have been towed and others are reported to have left voluntarily.
On Saturday, the police recommenced their efforts at 9:00 am with a larger contingent than on Friday, some holding riot batons and wearing face shields. CTV reported, “Armed with batons and wearing helmets, and using a “chemical irritant” at times, police moved quickly Saturday morning to push a line of protesters back from near the Chateau Laurier hotel on Wellington Street.”
They cleared the crowd from around the National War Memorial and were “herding” people away from Parliament toward O’Connor Street. Media were warned by police to stay out of the police operations area.
The Ottawa Citizen reported that by 2:00 pm police had cleared the road in front of Parliament Hill and that heavy tow trucks and front loaders equipped with forklift arms had begun clearing some 60 remaining trucks in the area. It also reported at the same time that a group of several dozen protestors continued to face off with police at the corner of Bank and Wellington Streets.
One of the organizing groups of the so-called Freedom Convoy reported that it had asked its truckers to move from Parliament Hill to avoid what it called police brutality, and had notified police.
Tom Marazzo, identified as a convoy organizer, spoke at an online media conference in the early afternoon, saying that while several of the organizers had been arrested, “others will fill their roles.”
The police are using Twitter to send out warnings to the people remaining in the area. The Ottawa Police Service issued a tweet saying, “You will have seen officers use a chemical irritant in an effort to stop the assaultive behaviour and for officer safety.”
In another message, they said: “PROTESTORS: We told you to leave. We gave you time to leave. We were slow and methodical, yet you were assaultive and aggressive with officers and the horses. Based on your behaviour, we are responding by including helmets and batons for our safety.”
Police checkpoints are in place at nearly 100 locations in an area between Highway 417 and Wellington Street and Bronson Avenue and the Rideau Canal. Several highway off-ramps off the Queensway into the core area are also closed. The Chaurdieres Bridge and Alexandra Bridge are closed to all vehicle travel. On the Portage Bridge, only the southbound lanes remain open for essential workers. Police say this is “to prevent an influx of protesters into Ottawa.”
In this vein, the standoff continues despite the police operation.
(Renewal Update, posted February 19, 2022)