Police in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa are reportedly considering military aid to address the growing impact of the nation’s Freedom Convoy of truckers and protesters who have now settled downtown for nearly a week.
The report comes as more protesters are expected to arrive on Saturday, and additional protesters have blocked locations along the U.S.-Canadian border.
“This is a national issue, not an Ottawa issue,” Chief Peter Sloly said on Wednesday, according to CBC.
“I am increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this,” he added.
Sloly noted that the current protest is beyond his police force’s ability to control, leading to considerations beyond his department for a response.
“I don’t have a singular mandate in this city, this province or this country, to negotiate the end to any demonstration,” Sloly said. “There always needs to be an element outside of the police for any truly successful end to any demonstration, particularly one of this size.”
According to the report, no decisions have been made or are currently planned to include the Canadian Armed Forces.
The widespread freedom movement that opposes vaccine mandates has been peaceful, but the presence of thousands of trucks and protesters has shut down Ottawa’s downtown, including many of the city’s businesses and schools. As of Wednesday, a long list of Ottawa services remained closed over the protest.
“As a protest with vehicles taking up blocks of downtown Ottawa continues, the area’s major mall closes for the rest of the week and museums are staying shut despite being allowed to reopen under updated pandemic rules,” CBC noted in a separate report.
“City officials continue to advise people to avoid non-essential travel, especially downtown. Museums, the Rideau Centre and some city services are also closed or reducing operations for the time being,” it added.
Some of the Freedom Convoy organizers released a statement on Wednesday to show their empathy to city residents.
“Our message to the citizens of Ottawa is one of empathy. We understand your frustration and genuinely wish there was another way for us to get our message across, but the responsibility for your inconvenience lies squarely on the shoulders of politicians who have preferred to vilify and call us names rather than engage in respectful, serious dialogue,” convoy leader Chris Barber said. “The fastest way to get us out of the nation’s capital, is to call your elected representatives and end all C-19 mandates.”
The Daily Wire reported on Wednesday that the growing Freedom Convoy movement is willing to stay as long as needed to see change regarding the vaccine mandates:
One Ottawa resident, Michael Bergen, waved both American and Canadian flags telling the Ottawa Citizen that he would not leave until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heard his concerns.
“I’m here until the end,” Bergen stated. “I’m here until Justin Trudeau listens. We need some compromise. It’s his turn to listen to people he may not agree with.”
He explained to the outlet that he was waving an American flag to show his “love right back to them” because of the mandate’s cross-borders impact.
“The mandates don’t just affect Canada, they affect the United States as well so I’m showing my support for them, too,” he noted. “I’m showing my love right back to them.”