An “out of control” situation. The mayor of Ottawa announced the establishment of a state of emergency in the Canadian capital and hardened the tone against the demonstrators and road anti-sanitary measures which have paralyzed the city for several days.
This weekend, dozens of trucks and hundreds of demonstrators again flocked to Ottawa and other major cities, such as Toronto or Quebec, to block the streets.
A very worrying situation for the town hall, which underlines “the serious danger as well as the threat to the safety and security of the residents posed by the continuous demonstrations” and asks for more support from the government.
The state of emergency should allow “greater flexibility within the municipal administration to allow the city of Ottawa to manage the continuity of activities for essential services to its residents”, specifies the town hall in a press release.
“The protesters make the law”
Jim Watson, the mayor of the capital, judged the conduct of the demonstrators “unacceptable” and affirmed that “the protesters make the law”. For its part, the city police affirmed their intention to prevent the demonstrators from being supplied, in particular with fuel.
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 6, 2022
“Anyone who tries to provide material support to protesters risks being arrested. This measure is now in force,” she announced. Several people were arrested this Sunday, after this decision. In addition, about 450 participants received tickets this weekend, in particular because of the excessive noise of horns and fireworks.
A “state of siege” for the police chief
During a meeting with the municipality on Saturday, the local police chief, Peter Sloly, had deplored the lack of means at his disposal to put an end to what he designated as a “state of siege”. The police must therefore soon receive the help of 250 members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, members of the federal police.
This movement, “freedom convoy”, was initially launched on January 29 by Canadian truckers unhappy with having to be vaccinated to cross the border with the United States. Many citizens unhappy with the health restrictions in force have since joined the movement.
Sunday evening, most of them left the scene and the trucks blocking the streets of the capital were withdrawn, but promised to repeat the operation within a fortnight. In France, a similar movement would be in preparation for a blocking operation scheduled for February 13.