Ottawa police investigating ‘illegal behaviour’ of protestors at War Memorial, Fox statue

The House of Commons resumes sitting on Monday amid a tense situation on Parliament Hill. Caryn Ceolin with the politics behind the protest convoy and potential political fallout.

By The Canadian Press and News Staff

Ottawa police say several criminal investigations are underway regarding incidents during the convoy of trucker’s protests on Parliament Hill on Saturday.

Police say they are looking into criminal behaviour of protestors in relation to the “desecration of the National War Memorial/Terry Fox statue” as well as the “threatening/illegal/intimidating behaviour” to police and city workers during the demonstration.

“Illegal behaviour will not be tolerated and will be fully investigated,” police tweeted on Sunday morning. “We have investigative and evidence-gathering teams in place to support the management of the demonstration.”

Meanwhile, residents of the national capital are again being told to avoid travelling downtown as a convoy of trucks and cars protesting government-imposed vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions snarl traffic for a second day.

The truck traffic in the city’s core by Parliament Hill has made many streets downtown impassable to vehicles, police say.

Other streets have been closed and local police say they are working to mitigate the impacts of the gridlock on residents and businesses downtown.

“We continue to have a large police presence today at all large demonstration locations,” police said in a statement. “For residents and businesses in the core, police are working to mitigate the impacts of the demonstration, such as gridlock and parked vehicles.”

There have been no reported incidents of physical violence during the demonstrations, but the defacement of prominent monuments was one of several incidents that drew public concern or condemnation.

One truck flew a Confederate flag Saturday, and Nazi symbols and slogans were seen in the crowds.

The protest has been “exceptionally disruptive” for people who live downtown, said Catherine McKenney, a city councillor who represents Ottawa’s core.

Many residents resigned themselves to the overwhelming noise from honking trucks and road blockages, but by Sunday morning people were fed up, said McKenney, who fielded complaints about demonstrators urinating and defecating on lawns.

“I understand to a large extent why emergency services, police services both local and national, would not want to incite this crowd,” McKenney said.

“However, at some point we need assurances that we’re not going to allow our city and our downtown to be seized and to push out others and make people frightened to live and move about in their own neighbourhoods.”

Mathieu Fleury, a city councillor who represents an area just east of Parliament Hill, tweeted that the people “intimidating our neighbours, blocking our streets, blaring noise & harassing our authorities & journalists have no place in our city. They must go.”

It’s not clear when the convoy of vehicles plans to end the park-in protest, as some participants have vowed not to move until all their demands are met.


Kathleen Biggar, one of the demonstrators, was wondering what would happen Monday. She said she would not want this protest in her backyard, and was picking up trash left behind on streets.

She planned to leave after Sunday. She suspects if the crowds stick around, it will deepen conflict with the locals.

“I don’t know the solution and that’s probably the point we’re all asking, where does this go?” Biggar said.

The demonstration was initially aimed at denouncing vaccine mandates for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border, but the movement has morphed into a protest against a variety of COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government.

A memo being pushed by Canada Unity, the primary group behind the convoy, unlawfully demands Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and the Senate force federal and provincial governments to lift all COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccine mandates. It does not mention truckers, and was initially sent to the Senate and Simon on Dec. 11.

The vast majority of truck drivers are vaccinated. The Canadian Trucking Alliance has previously estimated about 10 per cent of drivers were affected when vaccinations became a requirement to cross the Canada-U.S. border earlier this month.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today