Ottawa

2 men charged as protests continue in nation's capital

In addition to the two arrests, police say there are currently 13 active investigations. There were also eight complaints to the protest-specific crime hotline, with three being investigated by the police's Hate and Bias Crime Unit.

Andre J. Lacasse, 37 and Matthew Dorken, 29, charged in separate incidents

People climb the fencing along Parliament Hill for a better view as Parliamentary Protective Service officers look on during a rally against COVID-19 restrictions on Parliament Hill, which began as a cross-country convoy protesting a federal vaccine mandate for truckers, in Ottawa, on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa police have charged two men with offences related to the ongoing protests happening across the city's downtown core.

Over the past several days there have been numerous reports of vandalism, harassment, assaults and threats against residents and city property, as thousands of people gathered to protest various COVID-19 health mandates. 

On Sunday, police charged 37-year-old Andre J. Lacasse of Ottawa with carrying a weapon to a public meeting.

A 29-year-old man from Ottawa was also arrested on Tuesday, but police say it stemmed from an incident that occurred Saturday.  At the time, police said officers did not arrest the man in order to avoid a larger confrontation. Matthew Dorken is charged with mischief under $5,000.

Police and city bylaw officers have been criticized by residents and academics for their handling of the protests and lack of charges and tickets against protesters.

But, police chief Peter Sloly said earlier this week that officers have been assessing the situation and avoiding arrests and confrontations so as to prevent possible riots, serious injuries or deaths. He promised those who commit crimes in the city will be investigated and prosecuted.

In addition to the two arrests, police say there are currently 13 active investigations. There were also eight complaints to the protest-specific hotline police set up, with three being investigated by the police's Hate and Bias Crime Unit.

Police also said there was "some progression" into an investigation involving the desecration of the National War Memorial.

"We want to be very clear, both for the current demonstrations and any planned demonstrations: Illegal activity will not be tolerated," Ottawa police wrote in a press release Tuesday night. 

Protesters' numbers continued to shrink Tuesday, with police estimating there are approximately 50 people left on Parliament Hill and another 200 nearby.

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