Safe walks/rides organized in response to the “Freedom Convoy” in Ottawa

Published by Brent Patterson on

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“Freedom Convoy” trucks began arriving in the city of Ottawa, unceded Algonquin territory, on Friday January 28.

CBC News reports: “Crowds [at the convoy protest] swelled to between 5,000 to 18,000 people on Saturday [January 29], according to police, with the city estimating another 3,000 came to the Hill on Sunday [January 30]. Police said Tuesday [February 1] night that 250 people remained, without offering a vehicle count.”

The convoy has also raised more than $10.1 million and there are indications that this will be an ongoing “occupation” with more trucks coming this weekend.

The CBC article adds: “The protest has seen [large tractor trailer] vehicles parked and honking on roads leading to Parliament Hill since Friday [January 28], with widespread reports of threats and harassment in the area.”

Those incidents include the assault of an unhoused person and a security guard at a homeless shelter, and a couple yelled at because of a Pride flag in their window. CBC has also reported: “The Cornerstone Housing for Women shelter in downtown Ottawa says the ongoing protest has re-triggered clients who have already experienced trauma — to the point that one woman has sought refuge at a hospital.”

One of the incidents is also told in this Twitter video.

More incidents are being posted here with names redacted for safety reasons.

While “F*ck Trudeau” and Canadian flags are most commonly seen, Nazi symbols and a Confederate flag have also been seen in the downtown area.

To date, three people have been arrested.

CBC reports: “On Sunday [January 30], police charged [a 37-year-old man from] Ottawa with carrying a weapon [a collapsible baton and non-folding six-inch knife] to a public meeting.” CTV has also reported: “A 48-year-old Quebec man for making threats and comments on social media while he was in Ottawa.”

Residents at risk

Ottawa City Councillor Catherine McKenney has tweeted: “I’ve heard from 100s of residents who are tired & frightened at what they are experiencing in their neighbourhoods.”

McKenney has also stated: “We have people who are exhibiting very dangerous behaviours — harassing people, threatening violence, driving erratically, driving on sidewalks.”

The Ottawa Citizen newspaper reports: “McKenney said they continue to talk to Centretown residents, some of whom are scared to leave their apartments — including a senior whose cat is hungry because she is afraid to leave to buy cat food.”

That article adds: “Others talk about being harassed because they wear masks and some women have reported being followed down Bank Street.”

Safe walks/rides being organized

Notably, Ottawa Convoy Report is also organizing a form of informal accompaniment for those who could be targeted by the convoy.

Their Instagram page notes: “If you need a safe walk/ride out of downtown Ottawa, DM [direct message] us to connect with a volunteer. All helpers have been vetted, provided photo ID, references, and are prominent figures in the community. If you are trapped and require food/groceries, we can connect you.”

City councillor Shawn Menard has also highlighted the creation of a Volunteer Urban Foot Patrol and this online form for  people “willing to help accompany someone during transit, or if you’d like someone to accompany you.”

We continue to follow this situation with concern.

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