Ottawa police make arrests amid ‘Freedom Convoy’ protests and seize fuel and vehicles
Police are clamping down on self-described “Freedom Convoy” anti-vaccine-mandate demonstrations in Canada’s capital, making multiple arrests, issuing hundreds of tickets, and seizing vehicles and fuel as Ottawa’s mayor declared a state of emergency.
The emergency declaration was designed to give officers more “flexibility” to respond to the hundreds and sometimes thousands of truckers and their supporters who are gathered in the streets to denounce coronavirus measures, Mayor Jim Watson said Sunday. And, he said, the declaration reflects the “serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents.”
Fireworks were shot off, drivers blared their horns and streets remained blocked for the second weekend in a row, and Watson admitted Sunday that authorities were “outnumbered” and “losing this battle” against groups who were “calling the shots.”
Ottawa Police Service said in a statement Sunday it had launched over 60 criminal investigations amid the ongoing protests – including thefts, hate crimes and property damage. At least seven arrests had been made as of 9 p.m. Sunday local time in relation to property damage and other acts of “mischief,” police said. “Multiple vehicles and fuel have been seized,” the statement said.
Among the more than 500 tickets issued this weekend were notices of “excessive honking” and seat belt violations.
On Sunday morning, police said officers had issued more than 450 tickets since the day before, including to trucks with no insurance and obstructed license plates. Another 100 tickets were announced Sunday evening, including to people who were driving the wrong way or had alcohol readily available.