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'Confederate flags...do not represent freedom': Ottawa's first Black city councillor condemns ongoing convoy protest

Rawlson King says the Ottawa Police Services Board will be holding a special in-camera meeting on Tuesday to receive an update on the protest.
2020-01-29 homelessness rally ottawa rawlson king
City Councillor Rawlson King speaks to a crowd outside of Ottawa City Hall, January 29, 2020. Chris Kurys/ OttawaMatters.com

An Ottawa city councillor is condemning the ongoing trucker convoy demonstration in the capital while sending a strong message to those who continue to take part.

Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor and the city's liaison for anti-racism and ethnocultural relations initiatives Rawlson King said in an interview on The Rob Snow Show on Tuesday that it is, "abhorrent to protest public health measures since those measures help protect the population and in turn the economy." He also feels it is absolutely unacceptable to use this demonstration to spread extremism, racism, xenophobia, and intolerance.

The councillor doesn't think the ongoing protest is about valuing freedom, either.

"In my estimation, a protest that parades swastika flags and yellow stars, symbols of totalitarianism, does not value freedom," King explained. "A protest where we see Confederate flags, the ultimate symbol of bondage, being paraded does not represent freedom."

"A protest where a war memorial, dedicated to our brave soldiers who died, [is vandalized] ... does not value freedom." King said.

King adds the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) will be holding a special in-camera meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 1 to receive an update on the ongoing situation from Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly.

"I'm going to take that opportunity to really ask the chief about the tactics that are going to undertaken during the rest of this protest," the councillor said. 

As an elected official and member of the OPSB, King said he has heard from numerous residents with concerns caused by protest-related disruptions and wants to see a full report on police action throughout the protest.

Listen to the full interview with Councillor Rawlson King below.

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