Canadian Police have fenced off the area surrounding Parliament Hill on Wellington Street, where protesters had been entrenched for more than three weeks and are working to ensure protesters do not return.
Police officers and City of Ottawa cleanup crews are the only ones who remain in front of the Parliament where thousands of demonstrators were rallying to protest the vaccine mandates, reported CBC News. “We are deeply committed to the community healing that we know now needs to take place,” interim Ottawa police Chief Steve Bell said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
He said that police will decide on how to maintain its presence in downtown core “to make sure that nobody returns to occupy our streets again.”
However, several reports suggest that some members of the convoy have regrouped outside the city. The police are concerned with these reports and are alert so that no fresh protests may start in the city.
As per the reports, more than 50 vehicles were seen this weekend at Herb’s Truck Stop in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, less than 100 kilometres from downtown Ottawa.
Furthermore, the police chief did not say when downtown roads would reopen to residents or whether vehicle traffic would be barred from Wellington Street indefinitely.
Police continue to tell people to avoid the downtown core and warn residents who have vehicles parked between Metcalfe and Bay streets and Albert and Gloucester streets to move their vehicles or risk being towed. Only parliamentary staffers are currently allowed north of Sparks Street, reported the Canadian public broadcaster.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 14 invoked the Emergencies Act for the first time in 50 years to give the federal government extra powers to handle the ongoing truckers blockades and protests against the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
The state of emergency will last for 30 days. At a news conference on Parliament Hill, Trudeau said, “It is now clear that there are serious challenges to law enforcement’s ability to effectively enforce the law.”
I hope everyone appreciates @JustinTrudeau’s Canada… “Protesters” chant “we love you” to the police. Police respond by setting off two percussion grenades. Any MP who does not unequivocally condemn this outrageous escalation is a disgrace to Canada https://t.co/9sz3Cmwf4O pic.twitter.com/Ow09utn691
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) February 19, 2022
Trudeau said the measures will be geographically targeted and “reasonable and proportionate to the threats they are meant to address.”
The unprecedented deployment of the Emergencies Act gives police more tools to restore order in places where public assemblies constitute illegal and dangerous activities, such as blockades and occupations, he said.
The Emergencies Act, which replaced the War Measures Act in the 1980s, defines a national emergency as a temporary “urgent and critical situation” that “seriously endangers the lives, health or safety of Canadians and is of such proportions or nature as to exceed the capacity or authority of a province to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of Canada—in Calgary right now!
— Avi Yemini (@OzraeliAvi) February 19, 2022
The wave of protests across Canada began in January, with thousands of truckers and hundreds of other demonstrators converging on Ottawa to express strong opposition to vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border. Protesters demanded that the authorities remove COVID-19 restrictions.