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Concrete barriers, more officers among measures police have in place for second weekend of trucker protest

Ottawa police also said intelligence operations and investigations will be ramped up, among other things.
Jan 30 protest pic 16

As downtown communities brace for a second weekend of the trucker protest, Ottawa police say they are implementing “a surge” of measures to help protect those neighbourhoods.

In an announcement on Friday, February 4, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said they also have a contain strategy that will help restore order and prevent further unlawful activity.

“In connection with ongoing demonstrations, Ottawa’s downtown residents and businesses continue to be severely impacted by unlawful acts, including harassment, mischief, hate crimes, and noise violations,” OPS said. “We know that additional demonstrators are coming, and we are significantly increasing our policing resources to respond.”

To prevent and reduce the impacts of demonstrators entering the downtown core, and to improve neighbourhood safety, OPS is implementing the following measures, effective immediately.

Major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods

There will be about 150 additional uniformed and non-uniformed officers patrolling and addressing unlawful and threatening conduct in areas like Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowertown and the ByWard Market. This includes working with City and NCR officials.

Expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration red zone

OPS and the City will be utilizing concrete and heavy equipment barricades to create no-access roadways throughout the downtown core. The City will be releasing a map of impacted roads later today.

Protester vehicles will be directed to designated parking zones outside of the downtown core.

Illegal parking by demonstrators will result in by-law enforcement, removal and impound.

If necessary, interprovincial bridges, highway off ramps and/or roads will be closed.

Enforcement directives

The surge of police officers will result in enforcement to restore public safety, OPS said.

This include increased investigation enforcement and charges for all criminal acts related to hate, harassment, assault (including spitting), intimidation and mischief.

Enhanced intelligence operations and investigations

National, provincial and local intelligence agencies have increase their efforts to identify and target protesters who are funding, supporting and enabling unlawful and harmful activity, OPS stressed.

“Investigative evidence-gathering teams are collecting financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions. Every unlawful act, including traffic violations, will be fully pursued regardless of origin.”

The primary focus of each of the measures will be on the unlawful behaviour connected to ongoing demonstration, as well as parallel and counter demonstrations, police said.

“We strongly urge all demonstrators and those engaging with demonstrators to act lawfully, peacefully and respectfully,” OPS said. “The hatred, violence, and illegal acts that Ottawa residents and businesses have endured over the last week is unacceptable in any circumstance. The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa are bringing significantly greater resources to restore order, hold offenders to account and protect our neighbourhoods.”

However, the current occupation of the Parliamentary Precinct remains unresolved, police said, despite “significant success” in reducing the number of trucks and demonstrators while preventing riots, injuries and death.

“We take no solace in these operational successes. The demonstrators in this red zone area remain highly organized, well-funded, and extremely committed to resisting efforts to end the demonstration safely. This remains a very volatile and very dangerous demonstration.”

OPS continues to work with national security agencies, the RCMP, the OPP and others, and the service is working with all three levels of government to ensure a safe end to the protest.

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