February 10, 2022 By The Canadian Press
Ottawa police say almost two dozen vehicles tied to an ongoing protest have left the city, just as a convoy disrupts traffic at the capital’s airport.
In a release this morning, police said a dozen trucks left an area outside the downtown core after negotiations with protesters who have used the parking lot as a staging and logistics ground.
Police say 10 more trucks left streets near Parliament Hill, and another vehicle was towed for obstructing traffic.
As part of the announcement, police reissued their call for remaining protesters — who are calling for an end to COVID-19 measures — to leave the national capital after immobilizing the core for almost two weeks.
Demonstrators with large trucks have been warned by police that if they continue blocking streets they could be charged with mischief to property or have their vehicles and other property seized and possibly forfeited, and that charges or convictions might mean being barred from travelling to the United States.
But just as police were signalling some movement today toward ending the encampment of trucks, another group of vehicles began causing traffic disruptions around the city’s airport.
A notice from the city says the disruptions are part of a demonstration, taking place on a day when many MPs in Ottawa would be flying home to their ridings.
As the downtown blockages continue, MPs will once again be walking by protesters on their way into the parliamentary buildings. Some demonstrators were huddled in small groups this morning, while others lined up at a table with people giving away free coffee and collecting donations for truckers.
With a temporary injunction in place on protesters honking their truck horns, none could be heard early today from the vehicles parked along Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill.
The protest outside the doors of Parliament has dominated political debate expected to continue today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slated to be in the House of Commons for the daily question period.
The NDP is calling on the U.S. ambassador to testify before the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, saying American funding of the protest in Ottawa through online donations is an attack on Canada’s democracy.
The Commons committee meets today and would need unanimous consent of all parties to issue an invitation to Ambassador David Cohen.
Municipal officials in Ottawa spoke with federal personnel to find solutions to the protest that has sparked solidarity rallies. Protesters have blocked traffic at border crossings at Coutts, Alta., and the busy Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge.
Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair says Ottawa residents have been subjected to “acts of thuggery and disrespect” by demonstrators, and the government is working to ensure city police have the “resources that they need to enforce the law to restore public order and to bring this unlawful protest to an end.”
Trudeau says he spoke with Ontario Premier Doug Ford about the blockades in Windsor, Ont., and Ottawa on Wednesday evening, adding that the federal and provincial governments will be working to “get the situation under control.”