Canada's capital declared an emergency on Sunday in response to an unprecedented demonstration that saw truckers blockade Ottawa's core for more than a week because of Covid-19 rules.
The "Freedom Convoy" demonstration saw hundreds of truckers blocking city streets, honking their horns and disrupting traffic. The protest also faced backlash due to harassment and the presence of Confederate flags.
Although the protest was initially against mandatory vaccinations for truckers crossing U.S.-Canada borders, it quickly became a focal point for opposition to Justin Trudeau's government as well as the coronavirus policies it has imposed. It has also been supported by Republican politicians in the United States.
Jim Watson, Ottawa Mayor, stated Sunday the demonstration was a "serious threat and threat to safety and security of residents."
Watson stated that the city required support from other levels and jurisdictions of government to respond to the major disruption.
He didn't give any details about the measures that it might take under its emergency declaration.
Ottawa residents shared their stories on social media about being afraid to leave their home and having sleepless nights while truckers blare through the night.
The Ottawa Police Service stated in a statement that at least 60 criminal investigations had been opened to date in relation to the demonstration. This includes alleged hate crime, theft, and property damage.
Sunday was the only day that the police made at least seven arrests and issued at least 100 tickets.
According to the police, several people were taken into custody for mischief and multiple vehicles and fuel were also seized.
The notice stated that more than 100 Highway Traffic Act and Provincial Offence Notices were issued, including for excessive honking and driving in an unsafe manner, possessing alcohol readily available, and having the incorrect class of driving licence.
Police warned that anyone trying to transport canisters to refuel hundreds of trucks clogging roads in Ottawa's downtown area will be arrested. It warned that anyone caught trying to do so could face arrest and possible charges.
The Freedom Convoy organizers have stated that they won't leave Ottawa's core until Canada's vaccine mandates have been fulfilled.
Canadian officials, however, have stated that they will not be complacent.
Marco Mendicino, Canadian Public Safety Minister, stated Sunday that Canada had "put the question vaccines and vaccine mandates onto the ballot" during the country's 2021 elections.
In an interview with , he stated that "we're just carrying out the promise we made with support from the vast majority of Canadians".
Mendicino stated that the federal government was also responding to a request by Ottawa's mayor for more boots on the ground. Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were there to assist local and provincial authorities in their response to the demonstration.
He said, "I am very concerned about the numerous reports that we have heard from Ottawa residents." "We have heard of threats and intimidation, and the spreading of hatred. "We've seen Confederate flags, swastikas, and other symbols flying above (Parliament Hill). This is absolutely unacceptable.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also condemned the scenes taking place in Ottawa's core and called demonstrators a "small fringe" of society.
Trudeau and other Canadian officials repeatedly stated that approximately 90 percent of truckers in Canada have been vaccinated. This is in line with nearly 90% of Canadians who received at least one dose.
A recent poll by Abacus Data in Ottawa found that 68 percent of respondents felt they had "very little" in common with protestors in Ottawa.
Although many Canadians condemn the protest, there has been some support from within and beyond Canada. Former President Donald Trump praised protesters at a rally last week.
Trump took aim at Trudeau on Friday. Trump called the Canadian prime minister "far left lunatic" while stating that he supports efforts to bring the Freedom Convoy to Washington, D.C.