Ottawa mayor Jim Watson declared a state of emergency Sunday as the “Freedom Convoy” protest continues to gridlock the Canadian capital.
“[This] reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” he said in a statement reported by Reuters.
“It also provides greater flexibility within the municipal administration to enable the City of Ottawa to manage business continuity for essential services for its residents and enables a more flexible procurement process, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders,” he added, according to CTV News.
Today, February 6, Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency for the City of Ottawa due to the ongoing demonstrations.
For more information, visit: https://t.co/1ga2tHegDd pic.twitter.com/UO3hdSnQeq
— City of Ottawa (@ottawacity) February 6, 2022
An estimated 500 vehicles remained in the so-called “red zone” in downtown Ottawa Sunday with hundreds of people remaining in the area to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates, reported CTV News. Ottawa police have tried to discourage support for the protestors tweeting, “Anyone attempting to bring material supports (gas, etc.) to the demonstrators could be subject to arrest. Enforcement is underway.” (RELATED: ‘Increasingly Dangerous’: Canadian Police To Crack Down On Ottawa Trucker Protest)
Ottawa police have also relocated some protesters and put up fresh barricades on Sunday, saying they are “collecting financial, digital, vehicle registration … and other evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions,” Reuters reported.
Calling the situation “completely out of control” Watson declared, “They have far more people than we have police officers and I’ve indicated to the chief that we have to be much more nimble and proactive when it comes to these activities,” CTV reported.
“Overnight, demonstrators exhibited extremely disruptive and unlawful behaviour, which presented risks to public safety and unacceptable distress for Ottawa residents,” said police in a statement Sunday afternoon reported by CTC.
The disruptive and unlawful behavior included but was not limited to “excessive noise, use of fireworks, driving through a ‘no truck route,’ failure to drive in a marked lane, and failure to produce documents, according to CTV.
On Friday, GoFundMe suspended a fundraiser supporting the protest citing “police reports of violence and unlawful activity” as justification for its decision.