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Ottawa declares state of emergency over ongoing trucker protests

Here’s the latest on the Ottawa trucker situation

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A protester in Ottawa, Ontario.

A protester stands on a barricade as trucks continue to block the downtown core in protest of COVID-19 restrictions, in Ottawa, Ontario, on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.

Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press via Associated Press

Ottawa — the capital city of Canada — has declared a state of emergency due to ongoing trucker protests against COVID-19 restrictions.

The news: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Ottawa has been “completely out of control” because of the protesters, who have outnumbered police forces in the city, according to BBC News.

What’s happening: Recently, a convoy of anti-vaccine mandate Canadian truckers and their supporters ventured to Ottawa, blocking the U.S.-Canadian border crossing, as Deseret News’ Gitanjali Poonia wrote.

  • This convoy — named “Freedom Convoy” — formed because the COVID-19 vaccine has been mandated for truckers to cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
  • The protests, Watson said, have threatened the safety of the residents.
  • “Complaints range from idling trucks that impede traffic and makeshift wooden structures in city parks to lost income and fears of harassment and even violence,” according to BBC News.

What he said: “We’re in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced,” Watson said in a televised interview on CTV News.

  • “And we need to get moving much more quickly and much more proactively to bring order back to the streets.”
  • “Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured because of the irresponsible behavior of some of these people,” the mayor warned.

Why this matters: “The protests are also fanning tensions over the right to freedom of speech and protest in Canada and the imperative by law enforcement to maintain public order,” according to The New York Times.