Trucker convoy: Counter-protesters demand action from police

“This convoy does not represent workers or working-class values. Truckers are right now are delivering goods all over the country: They’re not in downtown Ottawa terrorizing our community.”

Content item

Ottawa’s silent, impatient majority took to the streets Saturday to urge police to put an end to the occupation of the city’s downtown, now into its third weekend of law-defying mirth and mayhem.

More than 2,000 counter-protesters marched in the Glebe on Saturday afternoon, chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!” while, only a few kilometers to the north, the city’s downtown core remained occupied by a phalanx of trucks and thousands of people opposed to vaccine mandates.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of supporters poured into downtown, where a festive atmosphere prevailed following a Friday evening concert on Wellington Street.

Many of the counter-protesters expressed deep dismay at the way Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly has handled the situation.

Advertisement

Content item

Carrying a sign that read, “Hurry up Sloly,” Martin Callsen of Nepean said he joined Saturday’s counter-protest to give voice to the silent majority.

“It’s time to take back our city: This is not what our country is all about, this kind of hatred and division,” he said. “This whole thing has been so poorly managed: There’s no way any other G7 capital would allow these huge trucks that close to their seat of government.”

He said he wanted the police to take action, possibly with the support of the military. “The longer this goes on, the more difficult the solution,” Callsen said.

Zak Klaas was one of the people who rallied at Lansdowne Park on Saturday to show their opposition to the convoy blockade in downtown Ottawa.
Zak Klaas was one of the people who rallied at Lansdowne Park on Saturday to show their opposition to the convoy blockade in downtown Ottawa. Photo by Ashley Fraser /post media

Bryan DeWalt of Ottawa said trucks had no right of assembly and he called on police to enforce the law by enacting a blockade.

“I would like to police seal off the occupation zone and stop any food or fuel from going in,” he said, “and gradually reduce the size of the occupation zone. They have the freedom of the street and we don’t.”

Advertisement

Content item

Alex Silas, the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s regional executive vice-president for the National Capital Region, said the convoy protest was not about truckers or the working class.

“This convoy does not represent workers or working-class values,” he said. “Truckers are right now are delivering goods all over the country: They’re not in downtown Ottawa terrorizing our community.”

Ottawa-area residents opposed to the truck convoy protest downtown, gathered at Lansdowne Park before marching through the Glebe on Saturday.
Ottawa-area residents opposed to the truck convoy protest downtown, gathered at Lansdowne Park before marching through the Glebe on Saturday. Photo by Ashley Fraser /post media

County Jeff Leiper joined Saturday’s counter-protest march. Like many residents, he said he felt both anger and disbelief when he saw reports of protesters holding a Friday night concert. He said the “red zone” had become more welcoming to occupiers rather than less during the past two weeks, and he called on police to act.

Advertisement

Content item

“Close the down the fun fair,” he implored on Twitter.

In an interview Saturday, Leiper said those occupying downtown Ottawa were acting with impunity. “I don’t know if it’s a deliberate provocation, but it certainly has been taken that way,” he said.

Ottawa police, he said, have not shared with city councilors the intelligence guiding their permissive approach to the two-week-old occupation. “But we’re at wit’s end and we’re looking for action.”

Nazim Khan, an Uber driver, said he had launched a hunger strike that would last “until this lawlessness stops.” “Canada is bigger than the trucks,” he said. “They cannot come to the capital of this great country and run over the Canadian constitution.”

Ottawa-area residents opposed to the truck convoy protest downtown, gathered at Lansdowne Park on Saturday.
Ottawa-area residents opposed to the truck convoy protest downtown, gathered at Lansdowne Park on Saturday. Photo by Ashley Fraser /post media

Earlier Saturday, another contingent of counter-protesters gathered at Lansdowne Park with signs that read, “Truck Off,” and “Make Ottawa Boring Again.”

Advertisement

Content item

Clayton Goodwin, a military veteran, said he wanted the government to act against the protesters occupying downtown Ottawa. “We’ve lost our trust in our institutions, our police force,” he said. “Those that would use children as human shields and turn our flag upside down, torture our neighbors with noise, you can’t engage them: You have to act against them.”

Goodwin called the anti-vaccine mandate protest “a grift.”

“It’s a fantasy. They’re liberating our city from nothing. We have 92 per cent of the population vaccinated, and we’re waiting to open up so we can support our businesses,” he said.

Michael Hay, 38, of Ottawa, said the protesters occupying downtown Ottawa had engaged in “psychological warfare” to intimidate and harass city residents with noise, trucks and implied violence.

“That extremist element needs to be gone,” he said. “If they just returned to peaceful protest, I feel like we could hash this out. I know some of them have legitimate grievances.”

Zak Klaas, a civil servant, said he joined Saturday morning’s counter-protest to show that “more people are opposed to the values ​​of the convoy than are supporting it.”

After leaving Lansdowne, the counter-protest group marched along Bank Street through the Glebe.
After leaving Lansdowne, the counter-protest group marched along Bank Street through the Glebe. Photo by Ashley Fraser /post media

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment