Police in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, are reportedly considering requesting aid from the military to address the growing Freedom Convoy that has brought traffic of the city to a standstill in a flurry of honking.
Honking may be the sound of freedom, and it is one that has upset the government in Ottawa, which has grown increasingly desperate in the face of the protests.
On Wednesday, the CBC reported that police chief Peter Sloly expressed his concern that there is “no policing solution” to the ongoing protests, which are expected to get even larger as more vehicles head down to Ottawa on Saturday. Elsewhere along the U.S.-Canadian border, protestors have blockaded portions of the traffic.
“This is a national issue, not an Ottawa issue,” Chief Sloly said. “I am increasingly concerned there is no policing solution to this.”
Sloly remarked that the current protest is beyond the Ottawa police force’s ability to control, prompting considerations for a much larger response beyond his department.
“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.”
Per the CBC, the government has not made any decisions or planned to include the involvement of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The movement, which grew from opposition to federal vaccine mandates for cross-country truck drivers, has grown into a much larger movement against lockdowns, curfews, and vaccine and mask mandates for the population at large. With tens of thousands of supporters, including farmers joining the protest.
In Ottawa, the presence of thousands of trucks and protestors has shut down the downtown core, including many of the city’s businesses and schools, which remain closed.
“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 reported. “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.”
Organizers of the freedom convoy are not without empathy for the city’s residents. In a statement, the group said it understood their frustrations and said it wished for alternative methods of protest, but none exist.