© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A person poses for a photograph in entrance of the Nationwide Struggle Memorial as truckers and supporters participate in a convoy to protest coronavirus illness (COVID-19) vaccine mandates for cross-border truck drivers in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, January 29, 20
By Steve Scherer
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Ottawa officers mentioned on Monday they’re closing roads and calling in reinforcements to maintain anti-government “freedom” protesters from disrupting Canada Day festivities, that are being held for the primary time in three years on Friday.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the free concert events and different actions often held on the July 1 nationwide vacation, which celebrates the founding of the nation, had been canceled.
This 12 months a number of teams that say they’re protesting towards a wide range of issues – together with coronavirus vaccination mandates, globalization and authorities efforts to restrict freedom in Canada – are planning marches and even a dance celebration.
A number of the similar organizers had been behind a truck convoy that blocked Ottawa’s downtown core round parliament for 3 weeks, snarling worldwide journey and commerce in addition to leading to dozens of arrests. Ottawa officers are nonetheless dealing with criticisms for his or her dealing with of the disaster.
Ottawa’s interim Police Chief Steve Bell mentioned he expects a whole lot of hundreds of individuals to take part within the Ottawa celebrations, however doesn’t know the way many individuals plan on becoming a member of the protests.
“We can’t be intimidated by any group that plans to disrupt the celebrations,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson mentioned throughout a information convention. “We’re ready, and we is not going to tolerate any criminal activity by anybody.”
Friday’s protests will embody an alternate free live performance in entrance of the Supreme Courtroom, a march to metropolis corridor the place audio system will tackle the general public and eventually a dance celebration in entrance of parliament.
A number of police forces, together with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), are being introduced in to assist, Bell instructed reporters.
Already from Wednesday, entry to the streets round parliament shall be restricted, and many of the streets within the downtown core shall be closed on Friday. No automobiles shall be allowed to park illegally and no constructions, together with tents, shall be allowed, Bell mentioned.
“We’re ready to take decisive and lawful motion to cope with threats, occupation makes an attempt, and different illegal habits that we observe,” Bell mentioned.
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