Sat. Aug 13th, 2022

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says the center of Ottawa is “out of control,” as the truck convoy’s protest and occupation is now on its 10th day.

Hundreds of trucks remain parked on Parliament Hill and through the parliamentary area this morning. Police and city officials are urging people to avoid the core of the city center, warning that roads and interprovincial bridges could be closed again today to slow the flow of vehicles into the city center.

Talking about Newstalk 580 CFRAs CFRA Live with Andrew Pinsent Sunday morning, Watson said it is clear the protesters have taken over the core.

“The situation at this point is completely out of control because the people who were involved in the protest are in the process of being shot,” Watson said. “They have far more people than we have police officers, and I have indicated to the boss that we need to be much more agile and proactive when it comes to these activities.”

Watson mentioned the wooden structure, protesters built in Confederation Park, which has become a “community kitchen.” He said more should have been done to stop it sooner.

“Now it has become a rallying point where there are so many people. How do we go in and enforce the laws and NCC’s property rights?”

On Saturday, Ottawa’s police chief admitted that the force did not have enough resources to resolve the situation.

“We do not have sufficient resources to deal with this situation adequately and effectively while ensuring adequate and efficient policing in this city,” Chief Peter Sloly said during a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board.

On Saturday, an estimated 5,000 people and 1,000 tractor trailers and personal vehicles filled downtown Ottawa to participate in the protest. Hundreds of people took part in a counter-protest at Ottawa City Hall, calling for an end to the demonstration.

“This is a siege. It’s something different in our democracy than anything I’ve ever experienced in my life,” Sloly said.

“It’s not a demonstration, it’s not an obsession, it’s something, and we do not have a police law that can adequately or effectively resolve this circumstance.”

The chief told the board that all active Ottawa police officers are on duty, and most officers work 12-hour and 14-hour shifts.

The Ottawa Police Services Board approved the deployment of 257 RCMP officers to further assist in the enforcement of the demonstration. Officers from the OPP and municipal police forces in London, Toronto, York, Cornwall and Sudbury have been deployed to Ottawa to assist with police work.

Acting Deputy Chief of Staff Trish Ferguson outlined the staff deployed to police in the city and the protest zone.

“It takes us about 495 officers in a 24-hour cycle to staff this right now,” Ferguson said.

Normally, the police in Ottawa have 478 frontline officers.

“For the city itself, over a 24-hour period, we have an average of 150 officers – just to cover what we need across from Cumberland to Arnprior,” Ferguson said.

For the “footprint” Ottawa police must have during the demonstration, Ferguson says they need 225 officers for traffic patrol in the center.

“Finally, for the increase that we announced Friday morning, it is 120 officers over a 24-hour period.”

The organizers of the demonstration say they plan to hold a press conference this afternoon. In a statement, organizers said they would not toot with their truck horns Sunday morning.

“Out of respect for the day of the Lord, for members of our military who have sacrificed and who continue to sacrifice so much for our freedom, for the men and women in blue who are doing a wonderful job of protecting us and as a gesture of goodwill, members of our convoy will refrain from blowing in Horns tomorrow, Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ottawa time, “it said in a press release.

However, horns could still be heard in the center.

ENFORCEMENT

Ottawa police said 70 traffic violation tickets have been issued in the ‘red zone’ around Parliament Hill so far.

Ottawa Bylaw issued 357 tickets within the protest zone Friday night and Saturday for violations.

The police say they have responded to 400 calls for service in connection with the demonstration.

“A total of over 50 crimes are being investigated – 11 of them were hate crimes, which resulted in charges against four people,” police said, adding that seven people have been arrested.

ROADS

Concrete barriers and barricades for heavy equipment remain in place throughout Centretown, Lowertown, ByWard Market, Sandy Hill and Glebe.

Several roads in the city center are closed from Rideau Street to Bay Street and Wellington Street to Albert Street.

Police warn that the following exits on Highway 417 may be temporarily closed:

  • Nicholas / Mann (westbound and eastbound)

  • Metcalfe (westbound and eastbound)

  • Bronson (westbound)

  • Parkdale (westbound and eastbound)

  • Island Park (westbound)

  • Kent (eastbound)

  • Vanier (eastbound)

  • St. Laurent (eastbound)

  • Pinecrest Road (Eastbound)

  • Montreal Road (eastbound and westbound)

  • Woodroffe Avenue (eastbound and westbound)

  • Aviation Parkway (westbound)

  • Walkley Road (westbound)

Ottawa roadblocks

Mayor, councilor urges the federal government to step in

As the protest continues into another weekend, Mayor Jim Watson is seeking the federal government for more help ending the protest.

“The federal government has an important role to play,” Watson said in an interview with CTV News on Six. “They will have to sit down and have some kind of discussion, some kind of mediation to get this situation resolved, because it is now spreading across the country.”

Watson says he spoke with Prime Minister Doug Ford on Friday and Secretary of State Marco Mendicino on Thursday to secure additional OPP and RCMP officers to help Ottawa police.

The mayor also commented on the bouncy castles and saunas set up in downtown Ottawa and at Ottawa Baseball Stadium.

“It’s disturbing when you see the protest turn into something like a kind of fun carnival where they have bouncy castles and spas and saunas,” Watson said. “A complete insult to the people who stop this nonsense for the last seven days, and it shows a great deal of insensitivity.”

Councilor Catherine McKenney, representing part of the area affected by the demonstration, called on the Prime Minister to intervene.

“Dear Justin Trudeau, please do something. You have a responsibility to protect your capital. We are under siege. Day 9,” they tweetedwhile quoting a video of fireworks going off in the middle of densely packed buildings in the center of downtown.

In addition to the horns, protesters have lit fireworks at night, prompting concern from some residents about the proximity to high-rise buildings for housing as well as fuel tanks scattered around the area.

Last week, McKenney wrote a letter to the Prime Ministerwhich calls on the Federal Government and the RCMP to assume full operational control of Parliament Hill and Parliamentary territory.

RCGT Park

CTV News Ottawa’s Jeremie Charron reported Saturday that the Ottawa Baseball Stadium now looks like a command center for the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration. Several large tents have been set up in the parking lot on Coventry Road and about 100 vehicles were parked there on Saturday.

“The original plan was to keep those trucks there because they could not fit in the center,” Watson said.

“What’s a mistake is that we should have had some control at the gate. They should not bring in whirlpools, they should not bring in bouncy castles – it’s just ridiculous.”

Saunas were set up at RCGT Park this week.

grev. Rawlson King said during Saturday’s special Ottawa Police Services Board meeting that the original plan was to divert trucks away from the core, but it has now become a “staging area.” King asked police what the plan was to deal with the park.

“We have worked with people in that place, and I say with people in that place that they have been to a point cooperative, but we recognize that it has now become a staging post and a refueling area for them,” said the acting deputy chief. Ferguson.

“So we’re looking at addressing.”

Ferguson said police are working with the Ottawa Fire to see “what avenues are available to us to enforce the laws and to make sure it is done safely.”

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