The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) have reportedly raised concerns with child protective services about the safety of the children living with their parents who are part of the Freedom Convoy truck protest, stating that the presence of the children “complicates” efforts to end the demonstration, which has been going on for over a week.
According to estimates produced by the police in a briefing on Tuesday, more than 100 of the trucks participating in the protest in downtown Ottawa have children living in them.
“Almost 25% of the 418 trucks have children living in them — children who could be at risk during a police operation,” OPS Deputy Chief Steve Bell said, noting that there are a “multitude of concerns” about their health, including the presence of carbon monoxide, diesel fumes, cold, noise, and a lack of access to sanitation facilities.
Global News reports that the police tapped the Children's Aid Society for advice on how to deal with the enforcement operations in the city’s downtown area.
The police clarified they were not seeking to take the kids out of the trucks or away from their parents “at this stage,” but left the door open for the possibility of more drastic measures.
“We’re not at the stage of looking to do any sort of enforcement activity around that,” said Bell. “We just think it’s an important factor that complicates and makes this an even more challenging operation.”
Also on Tuesday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson met with members of the cabinet to discuss sending in an additional 1,800 police officers to break up the protest.
During the meeting, Bell stated that “all options remain on the table” when it comes to dealing with the protesters. “That’s why we’ve made the large ask we have, so that we can have the presence we need to successfully, expeditiously and quickly end this occupation,” said Bell.
The City of Ottawa has moved to take legal action against citizens offering material assistance to the truck drivers, including fuel, some of which was confiscated by police. Police have also arrested citizens for honking their horns in support of the convoy.
The actions of the police have prompted at least one police officer to speak out against the actions taken by law enforcement.
As detailed by Rebel News, the Calgary police officer is speaking out against political policing.
“What is happening in Ottawa, with the clear political influence on the police, to physically exert political will on peaceful protesters... is so very wrong, on so many levels,” he said.