Convoy of truckers: how to counter a “flood” with “sandbags” | Commission of Inquiry into the State of Emergency
The number of vehicles used by the protesters caught Ottawa police off guard.
The Rouleau commission examines the circumstances that led to the invocation of the Emergencies Act to clear out truckers and other protesters who occupied downtown Ottawa last winter.
The flood of demonstrators' trucks that stormed Ottawa last winter was such that local police failed to contain them on Wellington Street across from the Houses of Parliament, opening the door to a wider disruption of the city center.
On Saturday January 29, nearly 5,000 vehicles burst into the streets of the capital, said Tuesday morning l' Inspector Russell Lucas to the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission.
It was like fighting a flood with sandbags, the senior Ottawa Police Service (OPS) officer said. We were building a wall, but we could see the water rising even faster, and we knew we would end up being submerged.
Result: Wellington Street AND the downtown Ottawa was swarmed by truckers, who blared their horns day and night until residents were able to get a court injunction.View larger
“What materialized exceeded all of our expectations,” Detective Russell Lucas told the Roll commission.
Inspector Lucas also told Judge Rouleau on Tuesday that due to the pandemic, the OPS – which initially believed that most protesters would pack up after a few days – were concerned that they did not have the resources to frame a prolonged occupation of downtown, which was a possibility.
Furthermore, the officer described to the Commission some police tactics that were used to prevent the manifestation degenerates.
In order not to make the situation worse, for example, some police officers agreed to have their pictures taken with the protesters, illustrated the officer – which, unfortunately, was interpreted as a clear support for the demands of the organizers of the convoy, he lamented.
Finally, Mr. Lucas confirmed that he had known since January 26 that some demonstrators had spoken on social networks of their intention to take action. x27;stormed Parliament Hill, drawing inspiration from the events of January 6, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, which ultimately did not happen.Enlarge image
Inspector Marcel Beaudin, of the Ontario Provincial Police, believes that talks with the organizers of the convoy of truckers could have ended up giving results.
Mr. Lucas stepped down from the witness stand at noon on Tuesday, making way for Inspector Marcel Beaudin, whom the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had sent to Ottawa after the first weekend of protests. advising local police department leaders on how best to utilize the Protest Liaison Team.
Questioned before the dinner break, the The officer notably suggested that this team had not been used to its full potential by the OPS, when its members could have made more gains if they had been given the means.
In the end, the convoy participants were more entrenched, but at first many of them wanted to work with the police, ease the tension for the city of Ottawa and recognized that law enforcement must be able to end the occupation, he said.
The Trudeau government invoked the Emergencies Act on February 14, 2022 to end a rally of truckers and other protesters opposing COVID-19 health measures that paralyzed downtown 'Ottawa from Saturday, January 29 to Sunday, February 20.
This law – adopted in 1988 to succeed the War Measures Act – provides, among other things, that a public inquiry must a fortiori examine the circumstances that led the authorities to resort to it.
Ultimately, 66 people will have testified before Judge Paul Rouleau, including Justin Trudeau and seven ministers, convoy organizers and CSIS officials.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford , and former provincial solicitor general Sylvia Jones have also received a subpoena – a subpoena they intend to challenge in court.
Asked about the subject Tuesday when he arrived in the Commons, Prime Minister Trudeau said he would let the Commission manage its witnesses, while stressing that it was obvious that his Ontario counterpart had held to the alongside the people of Ottawa, Ontario and Canada rather than alongside the protesters.
Mr. Ford and Mrs. Jones did not show up at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday morning for Question Period.
Since the opening of its public hearings on October 13, the Commission has heard from residents, businesses and elected municipal officials, including former mayor Jim Watson, who criticized the federal and provincial governments' slow response when the SPO has called for reinforcements.
So far it has been learned that local police have chosen to ignore warnings provided by hoteliers and security services. intelligence from the OPP that the protest could escalate into a prolonged occupation.
That omission was a mistake, an OPS officer admitted last week, and resistance from truckers , who had so far been peaceful and law-abiding, surprised the police force, its acting chief, Steven Bell, admitted on Monday.
Before this state of affairs, were the emergency measures decreed by the federal government necessary? No, said a senior OPP officer last week. The big boss of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki, would also have expressed doubts on this subject. She will appear by November 25.