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Ottawa declares state of emergency amid ongoing ‘freedom convoy’ protests

Emergency in Ottawa due to truckers protest against vaccines (Photo: IANS)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has declared a state of emergency in the city amid the ongoing protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, the city administration said.

The current wave of protests against COVID-19 measures in Canada started when thousands of demonstrators gathered in Ottawa expressing strong opposition to vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the US-Canada border. "Declaring a state of emergency reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government," the City of Ottawa announced on Sunday.

According to a press statement, the state of emergency is to provide "greater flexibility" within the city administration to maintain the work of essential services and help purchase the necessary equipment for first responders and frontline workers.

Earlier on Sunday, Watson said that the ongoing protests are "the height of irresponsibility and criminal behaviour". He added that city residents and local businesses are suffering because of the major disruptions the truckers and protesters are causing.
"The situation at this point is completely out of control," the mayor said, slamming the "outrageous behaviour by these individuals who think this is a big party and a big joke."

The ongoing "Freedom Convoy" protests have been generally peaceful. However, dozens of criminal investigations have been launched into a series of incidents and at least seven people have been arrested in the capital city.