Protesters tear down fence erected to protect National War Memorial

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By The Canadian Press and News Staff

Protesters have torn down a fence that was erected around the National War Memorial.

The fence had been set up after the first weekend of demonstrations in the nation’s capital, when some protesters stood and danced on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the base of the memorial.

Police stood by and watched as dozens of demonstrators tore down the fence before gathering around the monument dedicated to Canada’s war dead.

No one was seen standing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was covered in flowers, and it wasn’t immediately clear where the fence had gone.

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Some politicians took to Twitter to condemn the removal of the fence. They called on protesters to be respectful of the city’s monuments.

“Completely unacceptable,” tweeted Lawrence MacAulay, Canada’s minister of veterans affairs. “Fences were put up to prevent the flagrant desecration and disrespect of our sacred monuments. This behaviour is disappointing and I’m calling on protesters to respect our monuments.”

Canada’s Minister of National Defence Anita Anand also tweeted her displeasure.

“The National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are sacred ground,” Anand wrote. “These acts of desecration are entirely unacceptable. These hallowed places honour the past and ongoing service of our @CanadianForces, and they must be treated with the utmost respect.”

Meanwhile, police say they’ve created an “integrated command centre” to respond to the convoy protest in the city’s downtown core.

The police service says it struggled with enforcement Saturday because there were more than 4,000 protesters present and some engaged in “aggressive, illegal behaviour.”

But it says the integrated command centre will help the force co-ordinate with OPP and RCMP, and will lead to an “enhanced ability” to “respond to the current situation.”

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