Residents of downtown Ottawa are bracing for a Canada Day like no other, after “freedom convoy” protesters vowed to return to Parliament Hill on July 1 and maintain their presence. for the rest of the summer.
Each Canada Day, people gather on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to watch musical performances and fireworks on the anniversary of Canadian confederation. This year, it will probably be difficult for the police to distinguish between the celebrants and the members of the convoy, which is what the protesters are relying on.
In late January, groups opposed to the vaccine and mandatory mask wearing drove tractor-trailers and other large vehicles into downtown Ottawa and set up camp. The ensuing three-week occupation of the capital city was a traumatic experience for many locals, who faced harassment, incessant noise and other unwanted encounters, said Ariel Troster, a candidate for alderman in Ottawa’s Somerset district.
“Many people were thrown out of their homes, many were harassed, there were at least two cases where people were defecated on the steps of houses. There were reports of apartment buildings where people in the convoy took over the laundry and wouldn’t leave,” Troster said. “Not to mention the symbols of hate, which were quite visible not only on the Hill but in the neighborhoods.”
Group communications on Telegram, YouTube videos and other channels show that supporters of the convoy believe in white replacement theory and other conspiracies. QAnon activists and propaganda were often seen in the winter occupation.
It ultimately cost the city $36 million in police costs and has resulted in a proposal class action lawsuit against the organizers of the protest.
Now that Canada has abandoned most of the mandates, the convoyers appear to be demanding Justin Trudeau’s resignation as prime minister. They have been gaining ground with conservative politicians, recently held a meeting with their “allies” in parliament.
The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has vowed to thwart any further attempts to occupy the city. The force is under immense pressure to celebrate Canada Day right after his many failures in policing the previous occupation.
in a police services board meeting on Monday, Acting OPS Chief Steve Bell said an increased police presence and roadblocks that limit the number of vehicles allowed in the city center may not be able to keep out convoys arriving on foot. , but they will prevent people from setting up camp.
“Canada Day is a very important day for Canadians. It is a day in which we celebrate our country and all that is good in it. But people, when they come, need to be legal. And they need to be respectful of our community,” Bell said.