Ottawa police launch surge and contain strategy at Trucker Convoy protest

Ottawa Police. Image credit: Twitter handle

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Ottawa/CMEDIA: “The Ottawa Police Service 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,” said a news release on Feb 4.

150 more officers would reportedly be sent to affected neighbourhoods to target unlawful behaviour against COVID-19 mandates.

The new measures include barricading the protest “red zone” with hundreds of concrete and heavy-equipment barricades, cutting off access to the downtown core for more vehicles, closing highways, interprovincial bridges and major roadways to keep vehicles out of downtown.

Police are reportedly expecting 300 to 400 trucks to try to enter the downtown core throughout the weekend, along with up to 2,000 people on foot as well as about 1,000 counter-protesters.

Police said they have also increased efforts to identify protesters who are funding and enabling unlawful activity.

Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly listened to a question at a news conference on updated enforcement measures on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022.

The demonstrators, he said, “remain highly organized, well-funded, and extremely committed to resisting efforts to end the demonstration safely. This remains a very volatile and very dangerous demonstration.”

“We need to do better. We’re committed to doing better,” he said. “We have learned from our experience. We have gathered new evidence.”

Police said city officials would release more details about road closures and the designated parking zones outside downtown later on Friday.

According to the news release, to prevent and reduce the impacts of demonstrators entering the downtown core, and to improve neighbourhood safety, the Ottawa Police Service is implementing the measures effective immediately including major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods, expanding and hardening perimeter of the demonstration red zone by concrete and heavy equipment barricades to create no-access roadways throughout the downtown core, enforcement directives including increased investigation enforcement and charges for all criminal acts related hate, harassment, assaults (including spitting), intimidation, and mischief.