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Members of racialized groups point to 'blatant double standard' in Ottawa police handling of protests

The trucker convoy demonstration has left many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) residents living in fear, especially those in the downtown, though that was the case long before the protesters arrived in town.
Jan 30 protest pic 23
Downtown demonstrations on Jan. 30, 2022

As the ongoing "Freedom Convoy" demonstrations continue in the downtown core, Robin Browne from Ottawa's 613-819 Black Hub says many racialized members of the Ottawa community feel as though there is a double standard when it comes to how the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) handles different protests. 

The volunteer-run organization brings people of African descent together and also aims to address Anti-Black racism in the Ottawa-Gatineau region through education, business and several other aspects. 

Browne says he recalls how police handled the Black and Indigenous protests that took place in the wake for the acquittal of Const. Daniel Montsion two years ago, which sparked city-wide outrage. 

"What I heard, for sure was a number of people coming to me and just saying how blatant the double-standard was that they're seeing in terms of how the police are treating the truckers as opposed to how they treated the Black and Indigenous protesters that blocked the intersection back in November of 2020," Browne explained to the Sam Laprade Show on Tuesday, February 8. "It's a pretty blatant double-standard, I'm hearing a lot about that." 

He says several arrests were made by OPS during those protests no action was taken, such as the class-action lawsuit for the trucker protests.

"They just arrested and charged 12 of the protesters, which is like half of them, based (on the numbers) and those charges hung over the heads of those protesters for over a year." 

The trucker convoy demonstration has left many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) residents living in fear, especially those in the downtown core, though that was the case long before the protesters arrived in town.

"Even before this though, I don't feel safe," he explained. "I have two teenage sons, (even before this) I don't feel safe with them driving around Ottawa because I'm afraid they might get pulled over by Ottawa Police." 
 

You can listen to Robin Browne's full conversation below: 

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