In the hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked the Emergencies Act , truckers announced their intention to continue their siege in Ottawa.
One of the main organizers behind the mobilization of truckers, Tamara Lich, assured a press conference on Monday afternoon that they would “resist” before the invocation of the law.
She says the protesters are not afraid and she called the siege a “protest for love and freedom”. Speaking directly to Mr. Trudeau, she argued that no matter what he does, the truckers will resist and get nowhere.
To echo Ms. Lich’s remarks, an Ontario trucker involved in the siege on the outskirts of Parliament Hill, Harold Jonker, said he had no concerns about the Emergencies Act. In his eyes, the law is “useless” because the army will not be deployed and the towing companies will not take the risk of losing truckers’ customers.
He says he understands what Prime Minister Trudeau is trying to do, but he rather believes that this decision will turn against him.
Mr. Jonker, who owns a transportation business in the Niagara region, said he was one of the first to arrive at the protest with his wife on January 28. The couple has no intention of moving.
The demonstrators denounce the vaccination obligations and other health restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic , some of which will be lifted in some provinces.
Demonstrators have also used the demonstrations to denounce Mr. Trudeau and call for the removal of his government.
Agreement with the mayor
As Ottawa’s mayor set a noon Monday deadline for truckers camped in the center of the capital to leave residential streets, some said they refused to comply, while other big trucks appeared to give in to demand by Jim Watson.
Dozens of trucks remained parked Monday afternoon at major intersections in downtown Ottawa.
Some drivers said they are waiting to see if Parliament votes later today on a Conservative motion that asks the federal government to provide a plan to lift all federal obligations and restrictions related to COVID-19.
They claimed that only then would they decide whether to move or leave Ottawa altogether.
The motion was ultimately defeated 185 to 151, with the Liberals and New Democrats voting against. However, some members of the Bloc Québécois supported it.
Others said they did not believe in the agreement between the mayor of Ottawa and the leadership of the demonstrators and had no intention of moving anytime soon.
Mayor Jim Watson had outlined the proposal in a letter released Sunday as part of an out-of-court settlement to end ongoing protest over pandemic health measures.
Ms Lich had tweeted late Sunday night that the trucks would leave residential areas on Monday.
Police vehicles with flashing lights appeared to escort several trucks and direct them where to park on Monday afternoon.
The mayor said convoy leaders have begun to follow through on their commitment to move several trucks from the residential area south of Wellington Street.
He said on Twitter that it is a “complex, multi-day operation” in support of residents.
The rally of anti-government protesters blocking city streets around Parliament Hill is now in its third week.
Frustration with the protest became palpable in the nation’s capital where residents launched counter-protests against the so-called “Freedom Convoy.”
Injunction against noise
On Monday, an Ontario judge granted an injunction at the request of the City of Ottawa against a slew of by-law violations against noise, vehicle idling, fireworks and open fires.
The injunction, which has no expiry date, was drafted to provide a new tool for police and other peace officers to enforce municipal bylaws, the City of Ottawa said Monday.
City attorney David White sought the injunction on Friday, saying the protesters were flagrantly violating regulations.
The demonstrators seemed in a festive mood on Monday afternoon, a dozen of them dancing and waving Canadian flags to the sound of pop music and the sound of car horns on Wellington Street.
There were fewer people in the streets and on the sidewalks than on the previous days of the demonstration.