A state of emergency has been declared in the Canadian capital of Ottawa as a protest by truckers’ camping there entered its tenth day.
The emergency was declared in a brief statement from city Mayor Jim Watson on Sunday. The decision was taken “due to the ongoing demonstration”.
“Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” the statement added.
The city has been under siege since January 28 when the truckers started rolling into the city, under the banner of Freedom Convoy 2022 with the stated objective of remaining in Ottawa till the government removed restrictions such as a vaccine mandate on truckers plying between Canada and the United States. They also oppose other Covid-19 related measures such as lockdowns.
While the truckers have shown no sign of vacating Ottawa, Watson also called upon the government to step in. In an interview with the outlet CTV, he said there was a need for “some kind of mediation to get this situation resolved because it’s now spreading all across the country”.
After attacking the demonstrators last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been silent and remains at an undisclosed location in the National Capital Region, for reasons of security. Trudeau is also in self-isolation as he tested positive for Covid-19 on January 30.
In a release, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) said it continues to “advise demonstrators not to enter Ottawa, and to go home.”
Enforcement measures have also been increased. Among them, the OPS said were the opening of 97 criminal offence investigations in relation to the demonstration, while intelligence and evidence gathering teams continue to collect financial, digital, vehicle registration, driver identification, insurance status, and other related evidence that will be used in criminal prosecutions.