During a press briefing on Friday, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly threatened to investigate any officer who provides support to Freedom Convoy truckers. The peaceful protesters have occupied the Capital for over a week in demand of an end to vaccine mandates. Sloly also vowed to crack down on the “unlawful” protest.
“There is no supply of food, water, fuel, logistics or anything else that relates to enabling this demonstration by any member of the Ottawa police service or any other police service that I am aware of,” Sloly said. “Should that information come to me, you can be clear, as chief of police in this service, I will use the full extent of the Police Service Act and if relevant the criminal code, to pursue charges against a member who would do that.”
Sloly also vowed to crack down on the protesters, who have been been overwhelmingly peaceful. “This remains… an increasingly volatile and increasingly dangerous demonstration,” Sloly told reporters, adding that police were “committed to bringing this unlawful demonstration to an end.”
An additional 150 police officers were deployed to downtown Ottawa on Friday. The deployment comes as tens of thousands of protesters are expected to descend on the Canadian capital this weekend. Bridges and roadways into the city this weekend will be blocked while additional officers are expected. “This lawlessness must end,” said the chief.
The convoy started on Canada’s Pacific coast in late January and picked up supporters along its 2,700 mile journey to the Capital. Protest leaders have vowed to stay in Ottawa until vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions are withdrawn. An estimated 400 more trucks are headed to Ottawa to try to join about 100 big rigs currently parked in front of parliament and surrounding streets, according to police.
Other cities including Toronto, Quebec City and Winnipeg are also bracing for protests this weekend.