Canada truckers - live: Ottawa police decry ‘nationwide insurrection' as Trudeau asked to double size of force

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LIVE – Updated at 22:44

The mayor of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency as protesters in trucks opposed to Covid-19 restrictions continue to paralyse the centre of the Canadian capital.

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Thousands of truckers descended on Ottawa for the second weekend, joining a hundred who remained for more than a week. Residents are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.

The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many US Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

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Police report that multiple arrests have been made related to the protest as Mayor Jim Watson warns that someone may get killed or seriously injured because of the irresponsible behaviour of some of those involved.

The city has asked to increase fines for many offences and to double the size of the police force to address what the mayor called “an aggressive and hateful occupation of our neighbourhoods” that has nothing to do with vaccine mandates.

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Stay tuned for the latest updates…

Alaska truckers rally in support of Canada protest

22:25 , Oliver O’Connell

The Anchorage Daily News reports that more than 100 Alaska truck drivers rallied from Anchorage to Eagle River on Sunday to support Canadian truck drivers opposed to Covid-19 vaccine mandates.

Anchorage Assembly member Jamie Allard organised the event to support the truckers who have rallied in Ottawa since last weekend. Since 15 January, truck drivers and other essential service providers are allowed to enter Canada only if they are fully vaccinated. The US required vaccinations from essential non-resident travelers on 22 January.

The participants Sunday – including truckers and drivers in personal vehicles – filled the Cabela’s parking lot in South Anchorage before 1 pm and started driving to their final destination, the Eagle River Lions Club, after 1.30 pm. Another convoy drove to Eagle River from the Mat-Su.

Ottawa protestor equates actions with D-Day

21:55 , Oliver O’Connell

Here is a sign on one of the cars in downtown Ottawa that equates what the convoy is doing in Ottawa to D-Day and Vimy Ridge #cdnpoli #ottnews pic.twitter.com/Yic1WzLLyn

— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) February 7, 2022

Police launch arson investigation after attempt at lighting building on fire

21:30 , Oliver O’Connell

In the midst of the trucker protest two men were caught on camera attempting to light a building on fire by burn a package of firelighters in the lobby at 5am.

We were able to see the building’s video footage of the event. These two men got into the lobby, and began lighting the full package. The building is old and has wood paneling on the walls. It is also located at the epicentre of the convoy protests in Ottawa’s core. 2/ pic.twitter.com/2BGI938l1H

— Matias Muñoz (@TiMunoz) February 6, 2022

One of the men also taped the door shut to stop anyone getting in or out. According to a tenant in the building one of the men said they were connected to the convoy protests.

After they set the fire and left, a passer-by saw the flames and managed to open the door and put out the fire.

Arson investigation: We are asking for help to identify two individuals as persons of interest in an arson investigation.

The incident occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 6 at a building in the 200 block of Lisgar St. @CrimeStoppersOT https://t.co/Cd84K1g2sq pic.twitter.com/OW6H1LeW5K

— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 7, 2022

City councillor calls for federal government to take over policing of Parliamentary precinct

21:10 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Councillor Catherine McKenney wants the city to ask the federal government to take over control of the Parliamentary precinct.

She tweets that their motion for dealing with the occupation asks the federal government to take over policing responsibility of the Parliamentary Precinct so that local services prioritise residents.

My motion below dealing with the occupation asks the federal govt to take over policing responsibility of the Parliamentary Precinct so that local services prioritize residents. ALL OF THE EXTRA RESOURCES WILL NOT PROTECT RESIDENTS UNLESS WE FOCUS ON RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS. pic.twitter.com/utl4zbOvuz

— Catherine McKenney (they/them) (@cmckenney) February 7, 2022

About those air horns…

20:50 , Oliver O’Connell

They are still going loud and they’re very loud.

The horns are still going and they’re very loud. pic.twitter.com/AhTbuXfuWN

— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) February 7, 2022

Ottawa mayor asks Trudeau for more police

20:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Marco Mendicino, minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, to ask for an additional 1,800 police officers and staff.

Mr Watson said that the demonstration has turned into “an aggressive and hateful occupation of our neighbourhoods” that has nothing to do with vaccine mandates.

Noting the city’s gratitude for the officers already on loan, he calls for “a dramatic and immediate injection of additional officers”.

The request is for 1,000 regular officers, 600 public order officers, 100 investigative officers, and 100 civilian staff, as well as all the supporting resources.

The Ottawa Mayor has written to PMJT and Premier Ford to ask for 1800 additional police officers to deal with the convoy. #cdnpoli #ottnews pic.twitter.com/7qsVDI2zLS

— Mackenzie Gray (@Gray_Mackenzie) February 7, 2022

Judge bans air horns at protests

20:10 , Oliver O’Connell

A judge will order a 10-day injunction against the use of air horns at protests — a big complaint of people living in downtown Ottawa after 11 days of disruption and noise.

The wording of the order is still to being decided on and a lawyer representing the police will be consulted as to how the ruling will be enforced.

An Ottawa judge will order a ten-day injunction against the use of air horns at protests. Wording of order is still to be hashed out. But a win for the plaintiff resident and potentially, all others living downtown. https://t.co/Pvb0beaUDg

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 7, 2022

City wants to increase fines

19:52 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa city officials have written to the chief justice of Ontario asking to increase how much they can fine people for violations of parking and noise restrictions.

The fine for idling could be increased from $100 to $1,000, a noise violation could go up to $1,000 from $490, and encumbering a roadway would also rise to $1,000 from $350.

Ottawa Police chief asks to double size of force

19:38 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has told the city council that he needs 1,800 more police and civilian staff to deal with the “Freedom Convoy” demonstration.

The city’s police force currently employs a total of 2,100 people.

Mr Sloly has also asked for changes to noise and parking bylaws to help deal with the protest.

NEW:

Sloly is asking for 1,800 police and civilian personnel for immediate use.

He repeats: one-thousand, eight-hundred.

To put in perspective, entire Ottawa police staff is 2,100 (including civilians). #ottnews #ottcity

(Wow.) pic.twitter.com/j0rUwBdDm1

— Kate Porter (@KatePorterCBC) February 7, 2022

What happened to the trucker GoFundMe?

19:19 , Oliver O’Connell

Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe has announced it is freezing millions of dollars raised in support of anti-vaxxer truckers in Canada and will instead refund donors in full, citing police reports of violence as the reason behind its decision.

Joe Sommerlad reports for The Independent.

Canada truckers - live: Ottawa police decry ‘nationwide insurrection’ as Trudeau asked to double size of force
© Provided by The Independent

What happened to the GoFundMe for Canada’s ‘Freedom Convoy’ truckers?

Police call for more resources

19:00 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Police have called for more resources as focus turns to seizing fuel from trucker protestors.

When asked by @Gray_Mackenzie why it took @OttawaPolice 10 days to confiscate fuel from protesters, @OPSChiefSloly calls it an ‘inaccurate statement’ despite police only making moves on fuel yesterday. #ottnews #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/Wc1BbTnwKb

— Stephanie Ha (@stephanie_ha) February 7, 2022

Trucker gets a trim

18:50 , Oliver O’Connell

On day 11 of the protest, it’s apparently time for a hair cut.

“Every trench needs a barber” truckers getting a trim in front of the Chateau Laurier #ottnews #OttawaOccupied pic.twitter.com/sZbi9Zm0be

— Graham Richardson (@grahamctv) February 7, 2022

Thousands of litres of fuel seized

18:40 , Oliver O’Connell

CTV reports that on Sunday night, dozens of armed police officers and firefighters moved into a parking lot at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium on Coventry Road just before 7pm and seized 3,200 litres of fuel being stored there.

Police said the stadium, about 3 miles or 5km away from Parliament Hill, had become a staging area for the demonstration featuring a wooden structure providing meals, a bouncy castle, a sauna, and a hot tub.

Mayor Jim Watson said: “It’s disturbing when you see the protest turning into what looks like some kind of fun carnival, where they’ve got bouncy castles and hot tubs and saunas.”

He described it as “a complete insult to the people who are putting up with this nonsense” adding it showed “a great deal of insensitivity”.

Protest sets ‘terrible precedent’

18:33 , Oliver O’Connell

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino says: “It would be a terrible precedent to say that if you show up to the nation’s capital with heavy equipment and blockade the capital city that you can force reckless change in our public policy.”

“It would be a terrible precedent to say that if you show up to the nation’s capital with heavy equipment and blockade the capital city that you can force reckless change in our public policy,” Public Safety Min. Marco Mendicino says about the ongoing #ottawa protests #cdnpoli

— Sarah Turnbull (@TurnbullSarah) February 7, 2022

Class action suit against truckers

18:20 , Oliver O’Connell

“There is a way to do a protest and this, quite frankly, is not it,” says Zexi Li, the lead plaintiff in the multi-million dollar class action lawsuit against the trucker protest filed on behalf of local residents.

The suit seeks C$4.8m in damages for private nuisance and punitive damages amounting to $5m.

Zexi Li, lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit being pursued on behalf of dt #OttCity residents spoke w @MarciaMacMillan on @CTVNews.

Her message to #TruckersConvoy2022 ?

“There is a way to do a protest and this, quite frankly, is not it.”

More: https://t.co/qczMzxBPXT pic.twitter.com/1q4dv0Fsnl

— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) February 7, 2022

18:02 , Oliver O’Connell

ICYMI: 7 people arrested, 100 tickets issued in Demonstration-Related Enforcement@OttawaPolice has made multiple arrests in relation to several enforcement actions related to the ongoing demonstration. There are over 60 criminal investigations so far. https://t.co/LJK3FPHGjQ pic.twitter.com/zJI8MAFVXX

— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 7, 2022

Protest closures continue

17:41 , Oliver O’Connell

CTV reports that the Rideau Centre shopping mall, Ottawa City Hall and the Rink of Dreams, two public library branches and two Covid-19 vaccination clinics all remain closed due to the ongoing road closures and traffic gridlock in downtown Ottawa.

Cadillac Fairview, which owns the Rideau Centre, said that authorities “cannot provide any assurances that it is safe” to open the mall.

A statement from the company reads:

While our shared primary concern remains public safety and the safety of those that work within CF Rideau Centre, we are increasingly concerned about the economic impact and financial burden for the thousands of employees and 175 businesses that call CF Rideau Centre home.

The continued closure of an important community space, the loss of employment income, and the financial impact on our clients is heart-breaking given all of our shared pain and sacrifice during the pandemic.

The situation in Ottawa’s downtown core is untenable and we call on all levels of government to collaborate on a solution.

CTV reporter says protestors resupplying

17:30 , Oliver O’Connell

CTV’s Glen McGregor posted two videos to Twitter showing what appears to be protestors bringing in more fuel despite police warnings that they would crackdown on resupplying the truckers.

The cop told me the cans could be filled with water so they aren’t doing anything. They aren’t. pic.twitter.com/gLi0rZ0NGB

— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) February 7, 2022

Police chief stands by handling of situation, won’t resign

17:25 , Oliver O’Connell

In an interview with CTV, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly stands by his handling of the convoy protests after another weekend of disruption. Asked if he would resign, Mr Sloly replied: “Absolutely not. I came here to do a job.”

Pressed on what had gone wrong, Mr Sloly said: “I don’t think anybody dropped the ball. This is an unprecedented situation and we’re all responding to it; some more effectively than others.”

He added: “I don’t think we ever lost control of the crowd. We had 3,000 trucks come into the city and I head as much as 10-15,000 [people] at the height of the demonstration. That is a massive incursion that happened within hours … We contained it without any loss of life, injury or rioting, as soon as we got resources we got back on top of it.”

Is the police crackdown working?

17:10 , Oliver O’Connell

Chief Peter Sloly tells @MrLeslieRoberts “We have new techniques” to go after truck drivers violating traffic and bylaw rules.

— Josh Pringle (@PringleJosh) February 7, 2022

Police said they were cracking down on fuel through the downtown core. Minutes ago this man walked by us on Wellington. pic.twitter.com/mbZWXh01AP

— Annie Bergeron-Oliver (@AnnieClaireBO) February 7, 2022

Seven arrests by Ottawa Police

16:59 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Police have made multiple arrests and issued 100 tickets in relation to the trucker protest a statement released on Sunday night says.

  • Two people were arrested on Coventry Road for mischief
  • Multiple vehicles and fuel have been seized.
  • Officers arrested three individuals at Metcalfe and Slater for mischief. The investigation is ongoing and updates will follow.
  • Two more people were arrested this morning. One person was charged for driving while prohibited and the other for mischief relating to property damage of a downtown business.
  • The OPS issued a warning earlier today advising the public that anyone found bringing fuel to the demonstration trucks in red zone could be subject to arrest and charges. This is effective immediately.
  • Confederation Park has been fully cleared and fenced.
  • More than 100 Highway Traffic Act and other Provincial Offence Notices were issued including excessive honking, driving the wrong way, defective muffler, no seat belt, alcohol readily available and having the improper class of driving licence.

Further updates and charges will be released later on Monday.

There are over 60 criminal investigations so far related to the demonstration. They are primarily for mischief, thefts, hate crimes and property damage.

To date, the Ottawa Police Service has received 100 Ontario Provincial Police officers to assist with the demonstrations.

Mayor calls out irresponsible behaviour: ‘Absolute disgrace’

16:51 , Oliver O’Connell

On Sunday, Mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency, giving the city the “administrative tool” to cut red tape over issues such as procurement.

Mr Watson told CTV News that police will now take a “more aggressive stand”.

“They have to be much more aggressive in terms of these fines. Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured because of the irresponsible behaviour of some of these people who are honking their horns and destroying the fabric of neighbourhoods,” Mr Watson said.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to be a combination of enforcement, to a certain degree, as well as compromise and cutting off the supply lines of these people.”

He added: “We can’t allow them to have barbecues and turn this into a real carnival. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Ottawa mayor calls for mediator

16:46 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa’s mayor is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to appoint a mediator in an effort to end the ‘Freedom Convoy’ occupation of the centre of the city.

Jim Watson said he has suggested to federal ministers that a mediator could be “an honest broker on both sides to try to find some common ground, if that’s possible”.

“Someone of great stature in our community and the country who can actually open doors and bring some peace and calm to the situation,” Mr Watson told CTV Morning Live. “That’s one option that I think the federal government should pursue, because right now we’re at a complete standoff.”

Mr Watson’s suggestion comes ahead of a special council meeting Monday afternoon, with the ongoing demonstration entering an 11th day.

Ottawa Police threaten arrests

16:30 , Oliver O’Connell

Ottawa Police have threatened arrest for anyone attempting to bring material supports, including fuel, to the demonstrators.

IMPORTANT: Anyone attempting to bring material supports (gas, etc.) to the demonstrators could be subject to arrest. Enforcement is underway. #ottawa #ottnews pic.twitter.com/tp4e5d2xe1

— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 6, 2022

The Simpsons did not predict the Canada trucker protest

16:07 , Oliver O’Connell

Claims that The Simpsons “predicted” the Canada truckers convoy protest have been debunked.

Isobel Lewis has the story.

Canada truckers - live: Ottawa police decry ‘nationwide insurrection’ as Trudeau asked to double size of force
© Provided by The Independent

No, The Simpsons did not predict the Canada truckers convoy

Vancouver mayor and Ted Cruz spar on Twitter over convoy

15:52 , Oliver O’Connell

Vancouver mayor Kennedy Stewart and US senator Ted Cruz are embroiled in a verbal showdown on Twitter about the massive “freedom convoy” of Canadian truckers protesting against vaccine mandates.

Mr Cruz weighed in on Canadian affairs after Mr Stewart, Vancouver mayor, released a statement on 5 February, urging protesters to “go home” to make their point ahead of truckers’ planned protests in the city.

“As the Mayor of a city with an over 95 per cent vaccination rate, my message to the convoy is this: Vancouver doesn’t want you here. Make your point and then go home,” the statement by Mr Stewart said.

Canada truckers - live: Ottawa police decry ‘nationwide insurrection’ as Trudeau asked to double size of force
© Provided by The Independent

Canadian mayor shuts down Ted Cruz as he encourages truckers to starve country

GoFundMe issues refunds

15:21 , Oliver O’Connell

After crowdfunding site GoFundMe said it would refund or redirect to charities the vast majority of the millions raised by demonstrators protesting in the Canadian capital, prominent US Republicans including Florida governor Ron DeSantis complained.

But GoFundMe had already changed its mind and said it would be issuing refunds to all. The site said it cut off funding for the organizers because it had determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to unlawful activity.

The fundraising effort had raised about C$10 million (US$7.8 million). GoFundMe said it cut off funding for the organisers, because it had determined the effort violated the site’s terms of service due to unlawful activity.

“We now have evidence from law enforcement that the previously peaceful demonstration has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity,” GoFundMe said in a statement.

“No further funds will be directly distributed.”

Former ambassador chastises ‘radical US politicians’ for involving themselves

15:17 , Oliver O’Connell

The “freedom truck convoy” has attracted support from many US Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who called Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far left lunatic” who has “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates.”

Bruce Heyman, a former US ambassador under President Barack Obama, tweeted: “Canada US relations used to be mainly about solving technical issues. Today Canada is unfortunately experiencing radical US politicians involving themselves in Canadian domestic issues. Trump and his followers are a threat not just to the US but to all democracies.”

He added: “under no circumstances should any group in the USA fund disruptive activities in Canada. Period. Full stop.”

State of emergency declared as Ottawa ‘siege’ continues

15:03 , Oliver O’Connell

The mayor of Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency on Sunday and a former US ambassador to the country said groups in the US must stop interfering in the domestic affairs of America’s neighbor as protesters opposed to Covid-19 restrictions continued to paralyse Ottawa’s downtown.

Mayor Jim Watson said the declaration highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government. It gives the city some additional powers around procurement and how it delivers services, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders.

Thousands of protesters descended in Ottawa again at the weekend, joining a hundred who remained since last weekend.

Residents of Ottawa are furious at the nonstop blaring of horns, traffic disruption and harassment and fear no end is in sight after the police chief called it a “siege” that he could not manage.

AP

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