“They’ve worn out their welcome.” That from Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson speaking to reporters on Monday.
Watson says the city is doing everything to bring the Freedom Convoy protest to an end. It has gridlocked downtown Ottawa for four days but he didn’t demand police move in and enforce the remaining truckers to leave.
The protest has caused many businesses, schools, and vaccination clinics to remain closed on the day (Monday) that Ontario began to ease health restrictions that allow restaurants, bars, and gyms to reopen to customers with capacity limits.
Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly says the situation remains “fluid, ever-changing and increasingly more difficult to manage” but did say the size of the protest had significantly scaled-down since Sunday night.
Sloly says he cannot guarantee the protest will end soon but did say negotiations do continue to remove the remaining protesters. Saying “everything is on the table” to end the demonstrations from negotiation through enforcement.
But he did say the protest could have led to death and injuries and there has been none. He also made it clear there have been no riots calling it a measure of success and thanked all the police services along with city staff for their efforts.
Sloly says 12 criminal investigations have begun for a variety of things from bribery to dangerous driving.
A 24-hour hotline will soon be set up for residents to report hate crimes and say they will investigate anyone who came to the city and committed a crime, no matter where the suspects are from.
Sloly did confirm police have heard that some protesters have rebooked hotel rooms into next weekend, a sign that this protest is not leaving the Nation’s Capital anytime soon.
Organized by truckers opposed to the vaccine mandate for cross-border drivers and other public health restrictions many involved in the Freedom Convoy say they will stay in Ottawa until their list of demands is met.
That list of demands includes; an end to vaccine mandates, no mandatory masking, and the rehiring of every person who has lost their job for not being fully vaccinated.
A Memorandum of Understanding from the group Canada Unity also sets out a plan to dissolve the federal government and replace it with a committee made up of Senators, the Governor-General, and other members appointed by Canada Unity.