Ottawa residents, police brace for protests on Canada Day

Ottawa is bracing for a new round of protests expected to start on Canada Day and the city’s mayor and chief of police say they are ready.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and interim police chief Steve Bell say security plans have been drawn up to allow for safe celebrations on Friday despite the threat of protests.

The city has been the scene of several large demonstrations since supporters of the “Freedom Convoy” occupied the downtown core for three weeks in January and February.

Read more: Ottawa police say this year’s Canada Day will see ‘unprecedented’ security response

While police have since managed to prevent similar protests from taking over the city, stopping planned protests during Canada Day is likely to complicated by the presence of thousands of people celebrating the national holiday.

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Bell says police are prepared for a number of different scenarios, and will respond quickly to any illegal activity, including efforts to set up structures such as stages.

Watson says Ottawa residents and visitors should feel comfortable heading to the Canada Day celebrations, which are being held at a location west of downtown, but to be prepared for delays and other travel disruptions.

Many Ottawa residents remain angry at how the city and police handled the “Freedom Convoy” protests, with several community groups banding together to launch a citizens’ inquiry today into how that protest was handled.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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