After ten “Freedom Convoy” days, Canadian officials in the country’s capital issued a state of emergency order on Sunday.
Axios reported that Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson’s action came after pandemic restriction demonstrations spread to other parts of the country, including Toronto. The media outlet said thousands took part in the protests.
Mayor: Ottawa “Under Seige” By Protests
A statement from Watson’s office gave cause for the directive, saying “serious danger” and threats affect “the safety and security of residents.” The mayor said additional support from other parts of the government could be necessary.
The declaration helps the city adjust to the Freedom Convoy protests. Additionally, city frontline workers and emergency services can also get access to equipment.
Politico reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the protestors a “fringe minority” and won’t be intimidated by the group’s actions. He maintains he will not send federal troops to combat protests.
Canadian authorities said the protestors include extremist, far-right groups with backing from American donors. In particular, former and current American politicians have praised the group. Some have compared the protests to the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Capital police issued more than 450 tickets during the demonstrations. Furthermore, they set up a hate crime hotline to report harassment and abuse. On Sunday, the BBC reported that police would step up enforcement and make arrests of those seeking to aid protesters. Police have made several arrests and seized a number of vehicles amid the protests.
The BBC reported that Watson told Canadian radio station CFRA that protesters were behaving increasingly “insensitively” by continuously “blaring horns and sirens, [setting off] fireworks and turning it into a party.”
Protestors Want End To Pandemic Restrictions
Protests have grown to oppose all public health directives and Trudeau. Specifically, demonstrators want the country to drop its vaccine mandate for cross-border truckers. As a result, truckers have vowed not to leave the city until that mandate ends.
Canada reports 30 million vaccinated residents with 16 million armed with booster shots. The country’s population clock said the population sits around 38 million.
Axios reported Ottawa police estimates of 1,000 vehicles and 5,000 protestors in city streets around midday Saturday. On the other hand, 300 counterprotesters joined the protests.
Around the country, smaller protests are in cities like Vancouver and Quebec City. Hundreds of vehicles traveled through Vancouver to the rally with five people arrested. CNN reported the arrests came after vandals threw rocks and eggs, cars got kicked, and nails littered roadways.
Accordingly, Toronto and Quebec City protestors numbered in the thousands, clogging city streets and blocking intersections. Likewise, people in the province of Alberta continued to block border crossings into Montana. CTV reported this move comes despite the province’s intention to drop vaccine passports.