OTTAWA — Police are poised for a third day of actively confronting protesters in downtown Ottawa in hopes of finally ending the weeks-long occupation of the national capital.
Yesterday, hundreds of officers, some in full riot gear and deploying pepper spray, moved more aggressively to clear the area in front of Parliament Hill of people and vehicles illegally protesting COVID-19 public health measures.
Steve Bell, Ottawa’s interim police chief, said officers had little choice but to use greater force in the face of demonstrators who ignored their repeated warnings to clear the area they had occupied for just over three weeks.
Police said 47 more people were arrested, bringing the total to 170 since Thursday, while dozens of vehicles, including many large trucks, either pulled out on their own or were towed away.
They also said they deployed mid-range impact weapons last night after protesters allegedly assaulted officers with weapons, though no serious injuries on either side were reported.
The second, more acrimonious day of police enforcement action, came as members of parliament resumed debating the federal government’s decision to invoke the Emergencies Act to help end the demonstrations, which still persisted in cities across Canada.
Peaceful protests in solidarity with the Ottawa demonstration were staged yesterday in Surrey, B.C., near a busy Canada-U.S. border crossing, as well as in Quebec City, and Fredericton.
Ontario’s police watchdog says it’s investigating two incidents stemming from Saturday’s massive enforcement operation to clear anti-government protesters from downtown Ottawa.
SIU investigating reports of civilian injuries
The Special Investigations Unit says preliminary information suggests a Toronto Police officer on horseback allegedly had an encounter with a 49-year-old woman resulting in an undisclosed, serious injury.
They say they’re also looking into the use of anti-riot weapons, which they say were deployed by members of the Vancouver Police Department on Saturday evening.
The SIU says no serious injuries were reported during that interaction.
It’s asking anyone who may have been struck by a projectile to contact the unit.
Image VIA CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang