August 14, 2022

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The nation’s capital is facing a “real risk” of violence as the trucker convoy digs...

The nation’s capital is facing a “real risk” of violence as the trucker convoy digs in, setting up infrastructure and heavy machinery in what Ontario Premier Doug Ford and the Ottawa police chief are both now calling an “occupation” of the city.
Tensions are only expected to rise on Saturday, with police estimates of up to 1,000 counterprotesters and thousands of additional convoy supporters making for what former Ottawa police chief Charles Bordeleau called a “volatile” mix.
“There’s no question the dynamics around who’s involved and the different factions and different players that are in town present a real risk and potential for increased violence,” he told Global News.

“I hope it ends in a peaceful resolution where nobody gets hurt. That’s everybody’s goal.”

“But there are scenarios that may have to evolve where the police will have to escalate and use force to start arresting individuals and removing vehicles that are blocking the area,” Bordeleau added.

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“That is a scenario that presents some significant risks and consequences that people need to be able to really willingly accept.”

Read more:
Ottawa police vow ‘surge and contain’ response to trucker convoy ‘occupation’

All eyes are on Ottawa’s current police chief, Peter Sloly, as the demonstrations enter their ninth day.
Incessant honking – coupled with booming dance music – filled the air in downtown Ottawa on Friday, with heavy trucks effectively blockading the east end of the parliamentary precinct.
The smell of exhaust and smoke from propane barbecues was thick at the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, one of downtown Ottawa’s central nodes and the entrance to the Byward Market, where protesters replaced the usual tourists perusing shops and restaurants.
A group of young male protesters could be seen wheeling a wagon full of orange jerry cans from truck to truck along Wellington Street, replenishing fuel as required. Families with strollers or with babies strapped to their chest also waded through the protest, while a group dressed up in Santa Claus and reindeer costumes posed for photos.
The demonstration had the same party-like atmosphere that characterized the early days of the protest. But the police presence was notably heavier – with cruisers from different Ontario municipal forces and the Ontario Provincial Police blocking off streets and, in some cases, interspersed with the protest trucks.

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Sloly has faced intense criticism over his handling of the trucker convoy, which has been permitted to blockade Ottawa’s downtown core and bring hundreds of big rigs into the city.

3:15
‘It’s unacceptable’: Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Ottawa occupation by trucker convoy

‘It’s unacceptable’: Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Ottawa occupation by trucker convoy

Deafening horns have blasted through the city’s core for more than a week, throughout the days and into the nights, with countless residents posting on social media saying they have been victims of assault, threats and property damage at the hands of individuals associated with the convoy.
Sloly initially said he did not have the legal authority to prevent members of the convoy from coming into the city, a claim two constitutional lawyers disputed on Thursday.

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He also announced on Friday that police will be stepping up their response in a “surge and contain” strategy, and said police will investigate any reports submitted to them of alleged criminal conduct.

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Ottawa police have declined to answer questions about how many reports of death threats, rape threats and intimidation have been made to them so far.

Read more:
What options do police have amid ‘illegal,’ ‘unlawful’ conduct?

Ford on Friday called the continued demonstrations “unacceptable,” and described the conduct taking place on the streets of Ottawa as an “occupation.”
The Ottawa police force also called it an “occupation” on Friday, as did Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus.
“I spent the week undergoing the Siege of Ottawa,” Paul-Hus wrote on Twitter.
“If the motivation of truckers could be understood, the current situation is quite different. I ask that we clear the streets and that we stop this occupation controlled by radicals and anarchist groups.”

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I spent the week undergoing the Siege of Ottawa. If the motivation of truckers could be understood, the current situation is quite different. I ask that we clear the streets and that we stop this occupation controlled by radicals and anarchist groups. #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/OU0DwyviWY
— Pierre Paul-Hus (@PierrePaulHus) February 4, 2022

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Language used by police and federal officials has been shifting over recent days, increasingly leaning on descriptors like “unlawful” and “illegal” in comments about the demonstration.
And while Ottawa police have multiple options available to them, ranging from declaring an unlawful assembly or seeking a court injunction, to deploying additional RCMP resources or acting to remove the demonstrators, it remains unclear what the day will bring.
Multiple community groups cancelled plans to counter-protest over recent days, though some individuals have stressed they remain committed to doing so despite the risk of violence from the convoy.

Read more:
Ottawa police, security experts warn against counterprotesting

Police have said they expect in the ballpark of 1,000 counter-protestors, something that one expert says has the potential to spark violence as tensions rise if the groups come into contact with each other.
“One of the lessons from Charlottesville was that there was just a real failure of the police there to keep the two groups apart and to establish any physical separation from the two groups,” said Regina Bateson, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa studying violent collective action.
She had studied the organizing and activities involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

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The letter left one counter-protestor, Heather Hyer, dead after James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into counter-protestors in the vicinity of the rally. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2018.
Bateson said she thinks the new approach outlined by police on Friday is “wise,” and that she hopes they are weighing the risks to counter-protestors from those involved in the convoy.”
“I hope that they’re aware of the risks involved in having counter-protesters and the original group of demonstrators on the ground at same time in close proximity.”
Predicting what could happen next is challenging, she added, noting that there has been growing evidence to suggest that extremists in the U.S. are showing a willingness to “behave in ways that are different and unexpected.“
That can make it difficult for law enforcement to gauge the impacts of their actions, or envision scenarios that were previously unthinkable, such as the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, she said.
“This is a moment that demands a lot of imagination on the part of law enforcement and government officials,” Bateson added. “Just because something seems fantastical, just because something has not happened here before does not mean it’s impossible.”
More to come.

0:56
Truckers protest: Ottawa police plan to further isolate demonstration in front of Parliament Hill

Truckers protest: Ottawa police plan to further isolate demonstration in front of Parliament Hill

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

 

Ottawa facing ‘real risk’ of violence as trucker convoy digs in: ex-police chief – National appeared first on maserietv.com.