Ottawa police announced Friday they are finally cracking down on the anti-vaccine mandate tucker convoy that has disrupted life for the capital’s citizens for a week now. While the number of protesters dwindled over the week from the thousands to a few hundred, police are preparing for an influx of protesters to reach Ottawa this weekend.
Ottawa’s citizens have just about had it with these trucks and with the inaction from police. Protesters are trashing their city and making residents feel unsafe; shouting racial slurs at citizens, defecating on residents’ porches, attacking a soup kitchen, disgracing war memorials and making life in Ottawa generally unbearable with all night rounds of honking and diesel exhaust.
With 300-400 hundred more trucks and possibly 2,000 protesters expected to join the ones who stayed all week, the police finally seem ready to act, according to the CBC:
In a Friday morning news release, police said the new “surge and contain strategy” means there will immediately be about 150 more officers dedicated to patrolling central Ottawa neighbourhoods and enforcing laws — as they’re being broken or by getting evidence to act at a later, safer time.
It also means more heavy barricades to manage traffic and more intelligence work with provincial and national help to lay charges, including against those planning and funding illegal activity.
Details on the road closures are coming later Friday. Interprovincial bridges and highway ramps could again be closed, police say, and people coming into the city to protest are being sent to parking lots outside the core.
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Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told CBC that the protest is well-funded, well organized and dangerous. It’s so bad that Diane Deans, city councillor and chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, called on politicians to ask GoFundMe to cut off protesters access to funds. It’s not clear if that happened, but GoFundMe did pause donations to the Freedom Convoy fundraiser once it surpassed $10 million CAD on Thursday due to a lack of information on what the money would be spent on and other possible violations of the site’s terms of service.
“As the activity surrounding the protest evolves, we have been monitoring the fundraiser to ensure the funds are going to the intended recipients and that the fundraiser remains within our Terms of Service. Our monitoring includes maintaining close communication with the organizer as well as collaborating with local law enforcement,” the statement read.
Ottawa citizens are doing their best to stand up to the protesters in the meantime. Three women recently gained notoriety for facing down a huge dump truck on their street. Plans for a counter protest are being hammered out on social media, particularly on Instagram and Reddit.
The wheels of justice are still turning however, just not in resident’s favor, much to their chagrin. Case in point: Ottawa Bylaw, the traffic enforcement arm of the city, wrote 2,164 tickets in the days since the trucks arrived, and only 115 have gone to those in the protest zone, also known as the “Red zone,” around the city’s core. From CTV News:
On social media, others are posting their annoyance towards the seemingly unfair approach the city of Ottawa is taking, especially as many streets are now ‘No Parking’ and some parkades, with hundreds of spots, are closed. While truckers are exempt, others in the area are not. Bylaw can penalize a vehicle, or the same offence, every twelve hours. On day seven of this demonstration, some big rigs could have received nearly $2,000 in fines.
While the city says they understand the situation is frustrating for residents and those who work downtown, it’s business as usual outside of the red zone and that there is no way to differentiate between demonstrator vehicles and those that are not.
Since Jan. 28, Ottawa Bylaw has issued a total of 2,164 tickets for parking related infractions city-wide and 115 for vehicles parked in ‘No Stopping’ and ‘No Parking areas within the protest perimeter, along with an additional 626 parking infractions for vehicles parked illegally in the Centertown area.
Parking is harder than ever to find in the city now that streets are lined with huge semis. Snow hasn’t helped matters. Many on social media think Ottawa Bylaws need to give ticketing a rest while the protest has the city in its grips.
You really have to feel for the people of Ottawa right now.
This story is currently unfolding and we will update this post throughout the day.