"Surge and contain": Ottawa police announce strategy for weekend protest
Ottawa Police will implement a “surge and contain” strategy in the capital’s downtown neighbourhoods over the weekend to “further protect neighbourhoods, restore order, and prevent unlawful activity.”
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The force says Ottawa’s downtown residents and businesses continue to be “severely impacted by unlawful acts, including harassment, mischief, hate crimes, and noise violations.”
Police say they are aware that “additional demonstrators” are joining the protest this weekend and the force is increasing its policing resources in response.
@ottawapolice and its partners are implementing a surge and contain strategy in #Ottawa’s downtown neighbourhoods to further protect neighbourhoods, restore order and prevent unlawful activity. https://t.co/KLLTxBtxVU /1
— Ottawa Police (@OttawaPolice) February 4, 2022
The police service says it is implementing the following measures to “prevent and reduce the impacts of demonstrators entering the downtown core”:
- Major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods: Approximately 150 additional uniformed and non-uniformed officers will be deployed, specifically near Centretown, Sandy Hill, Lowertown, and the Byward Market.
- Expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration red zone: The Ottawa Police Service and the City of Ottawa will be using “concrete and heavy equipment barricades” to create no-access roadways throughout the downtown core. Protester vehicles will be directed to designated parking zones outside of the downtown core. Illegal parking by demonstrators will result in by-law enforcement, removal, and impound. If necessary, the police force says interprovincial bridges, highway off-ramps and/or roads will be closed.
- Enforcement directives: The surge of police officers will result in “enforcement to restore public safety.” This includes increased investigation enforcement and charges for all criminal acts related to hate, harassment, assaults (including spitting), intimidation, and mischief.
- Enhanced intelligence operations and investigations: National, provincial, and local intelligence agencies have increased efforts to identify and target protesters who are funding/supporting/enabling unlawful and harmful activity by protesters, says Ottawa Police.
The police force says the primary focus of each of these measures is a result of the “unlawful behaviour connected to the ongoing demonstrations” and strongly urges all demonstrators to act lawfully and peacefully.
The Ottawa Police Service says it continues to work with the national security agencies, the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and other police agencies. “We are also working with all three levels of government, to affect a safe, timely and lawful end to this unlawful and unacceptably dangerous demonstration,” says the news release. “Public safety remains paramount as does our commitment to work with all levels of government and all parts of civil society to bring this demonstration to an end.”
As protesters demonstrate in the nation’s capital for another day, reports indicate that thousands more could be joining the ongoing protest against government mandates related to the pandemic.
On Wednesday, GoFundMe suspended the “Freedom Convoy” crowdfunding campaign, which had eclipsed $10 million in donations.
In response, organizers of the convoy said they followed all of the protocols put forth by GoFundMe before having their funds frozen.
Earlier this week, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms — an Alberta-based organization that defends the constitutional freedoms of Canadians — says it will “represent the Freedom Convoy 2022 in Ottawa” and that the non-profit organization has a team of lawyers on the ground providing legal assistance and advice.