Canada: State of Emergency Declared in Ottawa over COVID-19 Protest

Photo: AP

A state of emergency has been proclaimed in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, as a truckers’ protest has entered its eleventh day.

On Sunday, city Mayor Jim Watson issued a brief statement declaring a state of emergency. “Due to the ongoing demonstration,” the decision was made.

“Declaring a state of emergency recognizes the grave danger and threat to residents’ safety and security presented by ongoing demonstrations,” the statement continued, “and underscores the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government.”

The city has been under siege since January 28, when truckers under the name of Freedom Convoy 2022 began rolling into the city with the claimed goal of remaining in Ottawa until the government eased restrictions on truckers plying between Canada and the United States, such as a vaccine mandate. Other Covid-19-related measures, including as lockdowns, are also opposed.

Despite the truckers’ refusal to leave Ottawa, Watson has called on the government to intervene. He stated there was a need for “some kind of mediation to get this situation settled because it’s now going all across the country” in an interview with CTV.

Following last week’s attack on demonstrators, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has remained mute and has relocated to an undisclosed location in the National Capital Region for security reasons. On January 30, Trudeau was diagnosed with Covid-19 and placed in self-isolation.

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said in a statement that it continues to “advise demonstrators not to enter Ottawa and to return home.”

The amount of enforcement has also been raised. According to the OPS, 97 criminal investigations into the demonstration have been opened, and intelligence and evidence gathering teams are continuing to collect financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions.

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