Police negotiators convince some trucks to leave, but most won't budge

Through negotiation and towing enforcement, Ottawa police are trying to manage hundreds of trucks that remain in the city as part of a protest involving a "sophisticated level of demonstrators," the chief said Thursday.

'Sophisticated level of demonstrators' remain in Ottawa as protest nears 3rd weekend

Police struggle as Ottawa protesters employ new tactics

2 years ago
Duration 2:04
Ottawa police struggle to maintain control as protesters and their supporters employ new tactics and fortify a new supply camp. While on Parliament Hill, Conservatives soften their support and the federal government is pushed to find a solution.

The latest on Day 14 of the protest:

Through negotiation and towing enforcement, Ottawa police are trying to manage hundreds of trucks that remain in the city as part of a protest involving a "sophisticated level of demonstrators," the chief said Thursday.

Chief Peter Sloly said negotiators have managed to convince the drivers of 25 of more than 400 trucks to leave over the past 24 hours, including 12 from the Coventry Road encampment area and 10 more from Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill.

Sloly said a team of police liaison officers and negotiators from across the province have been working on persuading protesters to leave by convincing them they "made their points" and they "are now suffering potential jeopardy for any unlawful activity."

Sloly said 126 criminal investigations are underway and more than 400 hate incidents have been reported to the Ottawa Police Service's hotline, while 25 arrests have been made connected to the protest.

Sloly also said he hopes additional resources from the provincial and federal government will help convince more protesters to return home. That's especially prudent since it's not known how many more vehicles could return to Ottawa this weekend when the protest tends to grow and become more raucous.

Province moves to shut down fundraiser

Ottawa's protest has also led to copycat events across Canada at border crossings in Windsor, Ont., Alberta and a new demonstration at the Manitoba-North Dakota border.

Those events are currently funded partly through a fundraiser on the GiveSendGo online platform, but on Thursday the Ontario government moved to shut that down.

The government says an order was issued by the Ontario Superior Court to prohibit anyone donating or using "monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSendGo online fundraising platform."

"It binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations," read a statement from Ford's office.

911 line jammed by mostly U.S. callers

Some of that money has come from the U.S., and at Thursday's news conference, Sloly explained how Americans have also targeted phone lines like 911 and the non-emergency phone number. 

He said officials think the culprits "are supporting the core demonstrations here and across the country."

"They were coming in from the United States, not exclusively, but significantly from United States-based addresses," said Sloly.

These types of swatting and doxing efforts have consistently plagued police since the demonstration began, he added.

"These are tactics that we've seen deployed in other locations across North America, and they're being employed here."

Darryl Wilton, the head of the association representing Ottawa paramedics, said the swatting tactics are putting people's lives in danger and are more evidence the protests need to come to an end.

"Somebody can call with a medical emergency that may not make it through to paramedics when the lines are saturated," he said. 

"These are not patriots. These people should not be flying the Canadian flag. They're not doing anything to protect communities or Canadians."

Protesters circle Ottawa airport 

Thursday began with a group of protesters who chose to hop in their vehicles and disrupt traffic at Ottawa's main airport for about two hours.

Traffic cameras showed a group of vehicles heading there around 8 a.m. ET and that group circled until around 10 a.m. before heading back to the nearby site on Coventry Road.

Protesters head to Ottawa airport, slowing traffic for two hours

2 years ago
Duration 0:42
A group of people protesting Canada’s pandemic restrictions drove past the Ottawa airport Thursday, slowing traffic but otherwise having a minimal impact on operations, according to a statement from the Ottawa International Airport Authority.

More than 50 flights were still scheduled to arrive or leave when protest vehicles began to disrupt traffic.

In a statement, the Ottawa International Airport Authority said there were about 60 to 70 vehicles involved and it had minimal effects on the airport.

"We are very disappointed that the protesters have chosen to disrupt an industry that has already been decimated by the pandemic."