Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly told reporters on Monday that “all options are on the table,” including “enforcement,” to end an ongoing protest led by truckers in the Canadian capital against the country’s onerous anti-coronavirus mandates that Sloly himself admitted had led to no injuries or violence.
“It could have led to significant and severe injuries, and it could have led to the loss of life. None of that has occurred over the last four days,” Sloly said, according to Canada’s CTV, while asserting that police would act by any means necessary to end the event.
Sloly’s remarks follow a bizarre speech by far-left Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – from an undisclosed location in which he is allegedly recovering from a Chinese coronavirus infection – in which he condemned the protesters as wearing “tinfoil hats,” compared them unfavorably to violent “Black Lives Matter” protests, and equated receiving coronavirus vaccine products to “what being Canadian is.”
Trudeau has adamantly refused to address the protesters’ concerns and dismissed them as a “small fringe minority” that is representative of neither truckers nor Canadians generally.
The “Freedom Convoy” of thousands in Ottawa is demanding an end to all business, travel, education, and movement restrictions in the country. A GoFundMe page for the campaign, which has attracted upwards of 9 million Canadian dollars in donations, demands Trudeau’s government “cease all mandates against its people.”
“Small businesses are being destroyed, homes are being destroyed, and people are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive. It’s our duty as Canadians to put an end to this mandates,” the page reads. “It is imperative that this happens because if we don’t, our country will no longer be the country we have come to love. We are doing this for our future Generations and to regain our lives back.”
Sloly, the Ottawa police chief, told reporters that “all options are on the table, from negotiation through to enforcement,” to end the event. He did not specify if lifting the mandates was among those options.
Similarly, in the same briefing, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson asserted that he and his local government were “doing everything possible to bring this to an end peacefully.” Unlike Sloly, he explicitly rejected using force to dislodge the peaceful assembly.
“I get a lot of emails and tweets, why don’t you just send in the tow trucks, send in the parking control people? We’re not interested in inflaming the situation,” Watson asserted. “The last thing we need is to have some behavior that creates a mini-riot. We don’t want that to happen. We don’t want to see bloodshed.”
Watson urged the protesters to “give back our city to its residents.”
“It should have ended a long time ago. They’ve made their point. They had their rally,” Watson reportedly complained. “They embarrassed themselves with some of the actions of some of the people in the crowd, but it’s now time for them to go home and allow our community to regroup and rebuild, particularly given the fact that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.”
Images from the protests largely align with Sloly’s assessment that the ongoing event has been peaceful. Reporters have caught protesters cleaning up public spaces they have used. Much of the activity in the heart of the city appears to be dancing and playing music, creating a celebratory atmosphere at odds with the mood created in the past two years in the country by the Trudeau administration’s pandemic policies.
Freedom Convoy participants clean and take care of the Terry Fox memorial in Ottawa.
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) January 31, 2022
-21C / wind chill -35C. Extreme weather warning.
"Sand from a communal #Indigenous burial ground, almost certainly containing fragments of human remains, is believed to have been used to mix mortar for the original #Parliament Buildings."#Canada – our home on stolen land. pic.twitter.com/O50q5DflaA
— Cory Morningstar (@elleprovocateur) January 29, 2022
Meanwhile in Truckistan pic.twitter.com/86mkALutHf
— Truckistan Amb. Poso 🏁 (@JackPosobiec) January 30, 2022
Trudeau has aggressively refused to address the protesters’ concerns or meet with them. During remarks on Monday, the prime minister told a reporter asking him to defend his stance on not meeting the protesters that he would only meet with those he agrees with.
“I have attended protests and rallies in the past when I agree with the goals, [and] when I supported the people expressing their concerns and their issues. Black Lives Matter is an excellent example of that,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa in 2020, taking a knee as a gesture of support for the cause. Trudeau’s support for the causes of racial minorities has largely been undermined by his own enthusiasm for wearing “blackface,” a racist practice where a white person darkens their skin to mock black people. In 2019, Trudeau described himself as being “more enthusiastic about costumes than … is sometimes appropriate” and admitted that he had worn blackface so many times that he could not remember them all.
Elsewhere in his remarks on Tuesday, Trudeau condemned the anti-mandate protesters as “hateful” and “fringe.”
“I have also chosen to not go anywhere near protests that have expressed hateful rhetoric, violence towards fellow citizens, and a disrespect – not just of science – but of the frontline health workers and, quite frankly, the 90 percent of truckers who have been doing the right thing [by receiving coronavirus vaccines] to keep Canadians safe to put food on our tables,” Trudeau told reporters from his undisclosed hideout.
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