Ottawa police prepare as convoy protesting vaccine mandate heads to nation’s capital
Thousands of protesters, counter-protesters could take over downtown core this weekend
Ottawa police are preparing for the arrival this weekend of a massive convoy of protesters opposed to pandemic public health measures — but they say they don’t know how big the event will be or how long the protesters might stay.
The ‘Freedom Rally’ convoy includes transport truck operators from across the country and members of groups broadly opposed to public health mandates. Its participants are planning to stage a protest on Parliament Hill against the federal government’s vaccination mandate for all cross-border drivers, which came into effect earlier this month.
“As with any large demonstration, there will be unique and asymmetric elements that are impossible to predict and challenging to manage,” Ottawa Police Acting Deputy Chief Trish Ferguson told a special meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board Wednesday afternoon.
Police say they don’t know exactly when the convoy could arrive in the city, how long the protests could last or what each group participating in the convoy has planned.
“We are planning for a range of potential risks, including but not limited to counter-demonstrations, blocking of intersections, interfering with critical infrastructure and unlawful and violent activity,” said Ferguson.
She said Ottawa police are working with the RCMP and the Parliamentary Protective Service to set up a command centre for the protests. She said the police service will ensure there are enough officers working over the weekend to manage both the protests and day-to-day situations.
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Source: CBC News