Feb 05, 2022
By Jeremy Logan
Ottawa, Toronto and several other cities across Canada are working to try to ensure that escalating protests against COVID vaccine mandates and other public health restrictions remain peaceful.
Police in Ottawa have said they are expecting as many as 400 more trucks and up to 2,000 people on foot to arrive Saturday and Sunday to join the protest that has been re-branded by critics, including a lot of frustrated downtown residents, as an occupation.
Weekend protests in solidarity with the Ottawa event are being organized near provincial legislatures in Toronto, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Regina, and Victoria, as well as the Coutts, Alberta, border crossing.
Police forces in those cities say they have learned lessons from Ottawa’s predicament and have developed strategies designed to protect key infrastructure, such as vital traffic corridors and hospitals, and also prevent possible violence.
Those strategies have involved significantly boosting the presence of police officers at protest sites, blocking off key access routes and stepping up enforcement of traffic regulations and bylaws regarding excessive noise and other applicable issues.
On another front, crowdfunding site GoFundMe now says it will reimburse or redirect to charities the vast majority of the more than $10 million raised by the demonstrators in Ottawa, saying the event “has become an occupation, with police reports of violence and other unlawful activity.”