Anti-health protests: Ottawa situation out of control, mayor declares state of emergency
Steph Deschamps / February 7, 2022
Since the end of January, the city of Ottawa in Canada has been paralyzed by dozens of heavy trucks and protesters opposed to health measures. Protests that have spread this weekend to other major Canadian cities.
In response to the situation, Mayor Jim Watson announced that he had declared a state of emergency in Ottawa because of the ongoing demonstration. Earlier, he said the situation is completely out of control because the protesters are calling the shots. We are losing the battle, we must take back our city, he said, calling the behaviour of protesters who are blocking downtown streets and blaring their truck horns unacceptable.
According to the municipality, this declaration of a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing protests and underscores the need for support from other administrations and levels of government.
It also provides greater flexibility within the City's administration to allow the City of Ottawa to manage business continuity to provide essential services to residents, she says.
For its part, the Ottawa police, criticized for not having been able to prevent the paralysis of the center of the capital, announced its intention to prevent the supply of protesters, in particular fuel. Anyone who tries to provide material support (fuel etc....) to the protesters may be arrested. This measure is now in force, she warned. In addition, the police, who should receive additional resources and manpower, made several arrests and issued nearly 450 tickets over the weekend.
While the protesters remain determined, they have announced that they will be leaving the city but will return in two weeks, once the current Quebec City Carnival is over.
Meanwhile, Ottawa residents exasperated by the chaos caused by the movement have launched a class action lawsuit for some 10 million Canadian dollars against the organizers.