As the trucker protests marked their 11th day in the Canadian capital city of Ottawa, the federal government Monday called for an end to the chaos that has enveloped the city.
“These blockades and occupations need to end. Unlawful activities are not the way to offer meaningful involvement in government policy development,” said federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra on Monday.
“It’s clear, blockade of streets and bridges is against the law and should bring serious consequences for the owners.”
After demonstrations saw about 10,000 protesters converge on the city core Jan. 22, people dwindled away to about 250 during the week.
But Saturday saw another surge of thousands of demonstrators and hundreds of trucks, once again creating traffic and business pandemonium as stores closed.
On Sunday, the mayor of the city, population about one million, declared a state of emergency, hoping to let the air out of the trucker protest.
“We’re in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced,” said Mayor Jim Watson.
The demonstrators want all COVID-19 vaccine health measures to end. So far, the federal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to meet with the protesters and has not gotten involved. The federal government said the demonstration is a police issue and they must deal with it.
But on Monday, the federal government finally ended its relative silence and called for a special meeting with provincial and municipal governments to discuss how to end the paralysis the demonstrations have caused in the city.
Ottawa police did act Sunday, with dozens of heavily armed officers moving into the downtown core. They removed vehicles and a tanker of fuel, and arrested two people.
Snipers were positioned on rooftops near the ball diamond the protesters used as their chief staging ground as police swooped in.
But it is not just Ottawa that is under siege, as truckers and protesters staged chaotic protests in major centers like Vancouver, Quebec City and Toronto. Police and city officials were better prepared for the demonstrations and the protests did not reach the fever pitch that it has in Ottawa.
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