Ottawa mayor declares state of emergency as trucker protest grinds city to a halt

Ottawa, Canada - The mayor of Canada's capital Ottawa declared a state of emergency on Sunday after more than a week of protests against coronavirus containment measures and vaccine regulations.

Trucks have been blocking parts of the Ottawa city center for more than a week.
Trucks have been blocking parts of the Ottawa city center for more than a week.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

Mayor Jim Watson said the move was necessary due to the "serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations."

The city needs more support from other jurisdictions and levels of government, Watson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, police again urged protesters to leave the city center, and said Sunday there had been "disruptive and unlawful behavior" from demonstrators overnight.

Canada bans most non-Canadians from buying homes
Canada Canada bans most non-Canadians from buying homes

Police said they had issued more than 450 tickets since Saturday for offenses including dangerous driving and excessive noise.

Several people were detained and nearly 100 criminal investigations were opened in relation to the protests.

An estimated 5,000 people took part in protests on Saturday, and around 1,000 vehicles blocked off parts of the city center, Police Chief Peter Sloly said. Residents were asked to stay away from the city center.

The Ottawa protests started with a convoy of hundreds of trucks just over a week ago. The "Freedom Convoy" and demonstrators have continued protests near Canada's parliament ever since.

Vaccine requirements introduced in January for truckers returning from the United States initially triggered the protests, but demonstrations are now directed at the overall government pandemic restrictions.

Recent polling shows much of the Canadian public supports pandemic measures. More than 77% of Canada's population is vaccinated.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press

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