Community association critical of Watson, Sloly’s ‘appalling failure’ to control convoy protests

By CityNews Ottawa

An Ottawa community association is calling on the city and its police force to take “immediate action” to control the convoy protest by ticketing more protesters, confining them to a specific location in the city and obtaining court injunctions.

The Centretown Community Association (CCA) issued a letter on Sunday, February 6, critical of the Ottawa mayor and the police chief for their handling of the more than weeklong protest in the nation’s capital that began in opposition of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

CCA president Mary Huang blamed Mayor Jim Watson and Police Chief Peter Sloly for their “appalling failure to protect and support Centretown residents, businesses, churches, and other organizations” from the so-called freedom convoy.

Huang is asking for the city and police force to:

  • Tow illegally parked vehicles
  • Fine protesters for incessant honking in residential areas
  • Prevent more vehicles from entering the protest area
  • Obtain court injunctions to clear residential neighbourhoods
  • Contain the protests to a limited area with only foot traffic
  • Work closer with federal and provincial authorities

The CCA letter also demanded Watson and Sloly apologize to Ottawa residents for “grossly mishandling the situation.”

The letter outlined several grievances against the protesters and the toll their presence has taken on Ottawa residents and businesses.

“Our members feel increasingly abandoned by the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Services,” wrote Huang. “Trust in both institutions continues to erode. The current state of affairs has escalated because of the utter failure of the Police and the City to properly plan for and manage this situation.

“With the failure of the City to provide help, Centretown residents have taken up the challenge to protect and support one another by organizing safety walks and grocery pick-ups. These kinds of initiatives are what makes Centretown great, but our strength and resilience does not absolve the city of responsibility. Far from it.”

On Friday, February 4, Sloly committed to “do better” and pledged a “surge” of 150 extra officers to patrol the demonstration.

Police say they have issued more than 450 tickets between the morning of Saturday, February 5 and Sunday, February 6 at 11 a.m.

They also say they have responded to more than 650 calls in relation to the demonstrations since they began last weekend, and 200 calls were made to the hate-motivated crime hotline. The service is also investigating 97 criminal offences.

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