On Monday, the Canadian capital of Ottawa declared a state of emergency as a truckers’ protest camp there reached its eleventh day.
Local mayor Jim Watson issued a brief statement declaring the emergency. “Due to the continuing demonstration,” the decision was made.
It has been under siege since January 28, when truckers under the name of Freedom Convoy 2022 began rolling into the city, with the claimed goal of remaining in Ottawa until the government eased restrictions such as a vaccination mandate on truckers traveling between Canada and the United States. They are also opposed to other Covid-19-related measures like lockdowns.
While the trucks have shown no signs of leaving Ottawa, Watson has also asked the government to intervene. In an interview with CTV, he stated that “some form of mediation is needed to get this problem settled because it’s now spreading throughout the nation.”
Following the attack on protesters last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has remained mute and stays at an unknown location in the National Capital Region for security concerns. On Monday, police threatened to retaliate after being chastised for a lack of action that has paralyzed the nation’s capital. The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) stated in a statement that it continues to “advise protesters not to enter Ottawa and to return home.”
Watson stated that the city needs “assistance from other jurisdictions and levels of government” to respond.
He did not elaborate on the measures it would apply under its emergency declaration.
On Monday, Jagmeet Singh, the head of the New Democratic Party, a third-place fraction that is nonetheless important for passing legislation, asked for an extraordinary meeting of Parliament.
“The country is in turmoil,” Singh said on Twitter.
Singh stated in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons on Monday that Ottawa has been “under attack.”
“Not only have these convoys impacted individuals in their homes, but they have also resulted in the promotion of hate symbols, the vandalism of hallowed sites, the harassment of local inhabitants, and the intimidation of healthcare staff,” Singh said.
Authorities are withholding gasoline in an attempt to deter trucks that block municipal junctions. Anyone attempting to carry canisters to drivers downtown might face arrest and prosecution, according to the police department.
Residents in Ottawa have shared stories on social media about being terrified to leave their houses and having restless evenings as trucks blare their horns all night.
Organizers of the “Freedom Convoy” have stated that they will not leave Ottawa until Canada’s vaccination restrictions are lifted.
In the meanwhile, Canadian authorities have stated that they, too, will not back down.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also slammed the events erupting in Ottawa’s downtown center, calling the protesters a “small fringe element” of society.
Trudeau and other Canadian officials have frequently said that around 90% of truckers in the nation have been vaccinated, mirroring the almost 90% of Canadians who have got at least one dose of a Covid vaccine.
According to a recent countrywide poll done by Abacus Data, an Ottawa-based polling and market research organization, 68 percent of respondents believed they had “very little in common with how the demonstrators in Ottawa perceive things.”
While many Canadians have opposed the protest, it has earned some support both within and outside of Canada, with former US President Donald Trump praising demonstrators at a rally last month.
On Friday, Trump joined in again on the demonstration, this time directing his ire at Trudeau. He called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a “far-left maniac” and claimed he backed attempts to send the “Freedom Convoy” to Washington, D.C.