Ottawa police said Saturday that they have a plan to end the “Freedom Convoy” trucker protest, but are waiting for backup to arrive before putting it into place.
“Overnight, demonstrators exhibited aggressive behavior towards law enforcement, including refusing to follow directions, overwhelming officers, and otherwise subverting enforcement efforts,” the OPS said in a statement. “We have a plan to end this unlawful occupation and await the necessary reinforcements to do so.”
Officers said they were sent to school neighborhoods in the downtown area on reports that protesters were “harassing schoolchildren.”
Police also reported that they had made 26 arrests and recovered two stolen vehicles whose drivers were trying to join the convoy.
Warning from Trudeau
On Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned protesters and supporters to stand down or “severe consequences” would be coming.
While the protests started in opposition to vaccine mandates, they have turned into attacks on Trudeau and calls for him to step down from his position.
In return, Trudeau has called the protesters racists, terrorists, and homophobes–the typical liberal tactic to shut down any statement or behavior they don’t like.
He has also threatened to revoke the truckers’ commercial licenses and prohibit them from traveling internationally. Enforcement of the restrictions could involve jail time and fines.
Trucker Andy Wing said Trudeau’s rhetoric was “disgusting.”
“I think it’s disgusting for any leader of a country to vilify people for exercising their democratic rights, their right to protest, the right to demonstrate peacefully,” he said.
The vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, but businesses in the area have been disrupted and have reduced their hours or closed.
Conservatives in America have spoken admiringly about the convoy and suggested that leaders like Trudeau are desperate to shut it down because it is proving that standing up for your rights brings change. Several Canadian provinces have announced the end of COVID restrictions since the protests began.