‘Avoid the downtown,’ police urge ahead of trucker convoy protest

By Jason White

Ottawa police are urging people who don't live downtown to stay away from the area, this weekend, as a truck convoy protest rolls into the capital.

Police said that predicting the number of trucks and other vehicles that will be downtown over the course of the weekend is extremely difficult, but are urging people to stay away in order to reduce congestion on routes into and out of downtown Ottawa.

“The message is, avoid the downtown core for travel purposes,” said Chief Peter Sloly. “And to maybe put a finer point on it, predominantly vehicular travel; we're going to do our very best to keep the roads open for…mass transportation, buses, and vehicles that do need to access and egress from the downtown core.”

Sloly said, as of Wednesday, January 26, there was no indication that businesses would need to close nor that residents would need to shelter-in-place.

“Should that situation change, we'll communicate that as early and as clearly as possible,” Sloly told a special meeting of the city's police services board.

“As of right now, the residents in the core, businesses in the core, should consider operating as close to normal, but be aware of information coming out from ourselves and our partners, the city, and stay up-to-speed on what is happening around legitimate sources of information,” Sloly added.

Ottawa police say they are aware of other parallel protest groups that plan to demonstrate downtown, at the same time as the trucker convoy.

Convoy organizers have insisted that their protest will a peaceful one.

The truckers and their supporters are expected to begin arriving in the area on Friday, January 28.

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