Toronto braces for second round of "Freedom Convoy" protesters this weekend
Toronto police are closing streets and making preparations for the “Freedom Convoy” to make another trip to Toronto this weekend.
Toronto Police Chief James Ramer, Staff Superintendent Lauren Pogue and Mayor John Tory held a press conference to provide an update on the City’s plans to address the convoy.
Earlier this week police closed off streets near Queen’s Park, and on Friday they closed down College Street between Bay and Yonge Streets ahead of any convoy arrival.
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“Given the intelligence we acquired the service made the decision to scale up its operational response on Wednesday of this week, and implemented the closure of police Park Circle from College Street to Bloor Street,” said Cheif Ramer. “Since then, we have closed College Street between Bay Street and Yonge Street to vehicular traffic reception and public transit.”
Torontonians can expect to continue to see a large police presence downtown and throughout the city. Police are prioritizing emergency access routes so patients, families and healthcare workers are able to get safely to and from hospitals.
College St between Bay and Yonge
– closed to vehicles only
– TTC @TTCnotices and pedestrians have access
– all updates will be issued here @TPSOperations
— Toronto Police Operations (@TPSOperations) February 11, 2022
Mayor Tory thanked Premier Doug Ford for declaring a state of emergency granting police additional power and resources to handle the convoy. He emphasized that he understands people’s frustrations with the pandemic and restrictions, but that the convoy goes too far.
“What we are seeing goes way beyond that, way beyond peaceful and respectful and way outside of the law,” he said.
Police wouldn’t confirm what intelligence prompted road closures, or how many people they are anticipating come to the city. Chief Ramer said that the situation is evolving and their actions will evolve alongside it.
“The first thing I will say is our intelligence is not based merely on social media posts,” he said. “We have a very elaborate and robust intelligence operation.”
Ramer wouldn’t confirm if the police would tow any vehicles blocking roadways, but he did say that police would “help them leave,” if vehicles are not moving.
“We are not going to allow encampments,” Chief Ramer told reporters.
He added that some of the convoy are trying to purposefully tax police resources, so they are weighing all possible options and outcomes ahead of any arrival.